MVRDV has broken ground on a new wholesale market for fruit and vegetables in Tainan, Taiwan. With its terraced accessible green roof, the open-air market will not only be an important hub for Tainan’s food supply chain, but also a destination for meeting, socialising, and taking in views of the surrounding landscape from the building’s accessible green farming roof.
The Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market takes an often-prosaic part of the food industry and elevates it into a place for the public to experience food and appreciate views of the landscape. The market is located to the East of Tainan, between the city and the mountains and, thanks to its proximity to Highway 3 and public transport links, is easily accessible from both the surrounding farmland and the city, making it equally convenient for traders, buyers and visitors.
The design comprises a simple open structure with high undulating ceilings that allow for plenty of natural ventilation, with an undulating terraced green roof that is accessible from its eastern corner, where the terraces step down to ground level. The terraces will house the different products of the area. The building therefore provides an elevated platform from which visitors can appreciate the landscape that characterises this part of Taiwan.
At the same time, it takes on the appearance of rolling green hills, thus becoming a continuation of that landscape. On one side, a simple four-storey structure contains the market’s administrative offices, a restaurant, and an exhibition centre where agricultural products from the region can be displayed, making the building ideal for school visits. This four-storey addition punctures the main structure, providing a secondary access to the landscaped roof.
“Tainan, in my opinion, is one of those towns which is so beautiful to me because maybe most of its nature, agriculture fields, farms, sea, and mountains,” says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “Tainan Market can become a building that symbolises this beauty as it compliments both landscape and its surrounding environment. It is completely functional and caters to the needs for auctioning, selling and buying goods, but its terraced roof with its collection of growing products will allow visitors to take in the landscape while escaping from bustle below.”
The terraces of the roof will each grow a different crop – with terraces for pineapples, rice, roses, tea, and more – with the level of each type of plant determined by the plant’s climatic requirements. The roof includes sheltered spots, benches and picnic tables that allow visitors to sit and enjoy the view.
Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market continues MVRDV’s recent projects in Taiwan. These include the Tainan Axis, which revitalises central Tainan with improvements to two key streets and a new public square with a lush green lagoon, and the Taipei Twin Towers, a recently won competition for two skyscrapers which will become a focal point in the centre of the country’s capital. The design of the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market was completed with LLJ Architects. Construction is underway, with completion expected in late 2020.