The National Palace Museum in Taiwan is famous for it collections shipped to this island from the forbidden city of Beijing in 1948, and is poised to open a branch in southern Taiwan in the near future. The Taiwanese Executive Yuan has approved the “Revised National Palace Museum Southern Branch Construction Plan” on October 22 of 2010. Without changing the originally approved budget and status, phase 1 of the constructions – being the main architecture of the museum site and related constructions – will be carried out by the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) of the Executive Yuan. Work on the museum site will commence in December 2012, and the main architecture is expected to be completed by October 2015, to begin test operations in December 2015.
Director Chou Kung-Shin of the National Palace Museum emphasizes that the building of a museum is serious work that should not become a political issue; besides, there has been no change to the Museum’s intention to promote the Southern Branch. The National Palace Museum will be building an international-class “Museum of Asian Art and Culture” for Chiayi, and she trusts that by now all Chiayi residents are aware of the many twists and turns that have occurred since the construction project was initially approved in 2004, including terminations of the project management consulting contract, international landscape planning and consulting contract and the architectural consulting contract, as well as flooding of the Southern Branch site due to Typhoon Morakot. These circumstances all meant that the construction project had to be re-evaluated and revised.
Director Chou reminds everyone that it is easy to construct a building, but are the people of Chiayi merely looking for a building, or a professional and safe museum, together with a productive and value-adding culture park for Chiayi and even the whole of southern Taiwan? Ever since she took office in May 2008, she has been putting all her mind and effort to solving various the problems left by the DDP Government concerning construction of the Southern Branch, including: how to continue the constructions despite the allegations of fraud; and how to revise the plans so that the Southern Branch can shake free from those long-term shackles and successfully open for operations. After more than two years of hard work, contemplations, coordination and in-depth investigations by the team, the “Revised National Palace Museum Southern Branch Construction Plan” is now substantively presented after “starting again from ground zero”. With the CPA now directly handling the constructions, building of the Southern Branch will undoubtedly be carried out more smoothly.
The budget approved by the Executive Yuan for construction of the Southern Branch includes $7.1 billion for hardware and $833 million for software. Main architecture of the museum will cover around 12~20 hectares, while the non-museum areas will total around 50~58 hectares. To prepare for extreme weather conditions, the museum will be designed as a water-tight architecture; according to the newly approved revised plans, constructions related to the Southern Branch will now be included as a part of the priority infrastructure for the “Yun-Chia-Nan Industrial Innovation Corridor” under the Executive Yuan’s “12 Infrastructure for Love of Taiwan”, in coordination with promotion of the “six new industries” including tourism, travel, fine agriculture and cultural creativity. The project will promote appropriate development of regional areas and create new images for townships. The revised plan has also made adjustments to non-museum areas in consideration of future development needs; private sector participation will be introduced, with maximum consideration being given to prosperity of Chiayi and neighboring areas.