The Chien-Kuo Brewery Fun Arts Space Project
The Chien-Kuo Brewery, part of the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation (TTL), was set up in 1919—the only brewery in Taiwan during Japanese colonial rule. The original buildings that have survived have been recognized as historic municipal sites. The brewing building, the warehouse and the packaging factory, which were built after the Second World War, were declared Taipei heritage sites on November 23, 2006.
In 2014, the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation proposed an urban renewal project to renovate a former industrial area for commercial use. Chien-Kuo Brewery’s 5.2 hectares of land would be turned into a Beer Cultural park, and about 21,000m3 (40.5% of the total) would be given to the city. The Taipei government plans to preserve all historical sites and build a museum, park, and other facilities to create a new sightseeing and leisure destination for the people of Taipei. The most exciting part of the project concerns the beer warehouse, which once served as an administrative building. Now, the warehouse will be the home for the Fun Arts Space project, a space for multimedia art performances that will use crossover arts to breathe new life into this old building.
At a June 15 press conference, deputy mayor Chin-Rong Lin said that under the energetic guidance of TTL’s newly appointed chairman, Jung-Hui Wu, this was a new opportunity for development for Chien-Kuo Brewery. About a third of the land will be given over to a park, squares, and roads, while 7% will hold repurposed preexisting buildings. The beer production line will continue operations, producing 70,000 twelve-packs of beer per year. The Department of Cultural Affairs will start work on the Fun Arts Space project for the warehouse. The project is expected to start on June 23 with a public exhibition. Deliberation on the urban project is expected to be complete by year’s end, hastening the moment when the people of Taipei can enjoy the Beer Industry Cultural Park, a preservation of historical memory, and a new arts and entertainment space.
Located at the entrance of the Chien-Kuo brewery, the beer warehouse was built in 1982. Today it is unused. The plain façade masks 30 enormous stainless steel storage tanks, each 4 meters in diameter, 12.5 meters deep, with a storage capacity of 100 tonnes. Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs Yung-Feng Chung said at a press conference that, owing to the industrial nature of the building, the warehouse has good weight bearing capacity and elevated height, which is very suitable for artistic creation. Art can provide endless possibilities for breathing new life into an enormous, disused beer storage tank; thus, the beer warehouse will become a platform for performance arts crossover presentations.
The Fun Arts Space project has two preliminary directions: deconstructing brewery equipment to make use of the space in the brewery, and transforming the space into a new experimental base for new media arts, allowing arts teams to put on crossover performances or create. The preserved brewery equipment will combine both art and industrial culture.
Dancers Cheng-Wei Hsu and I-Chi Lin, sheng player Chih-Po Yang, and percussionist Yu-Hsin Chen gave a special performance at the press conference. The performance used the idea of beer: imagining the warehouse to be the inside of a human body, with the dance moves like bubbles in the beer, each bubble carrying historical images from times long past. The music was like liquid beer, flowing through the river of time, and ending up in the art of life. Before composing their work, the artists took a look around the storage building and were very excited: they thought the space was wonderful and very suitable as a new art venue. Also in attendance were Jung-Hui Wu, TTL chairman; Yung-Feng Chung, director of the Department of Cultural Affairs; and Jou Min Lin, director of the Department of Urban Development.
The Fun Arts Space project will breathe new life into the Beer Cultural Park, construct an experimental space for crossover art performances and creations, and work in tandem with the nearby Huashan Creative Center, forming a centrally located cultural area and enriching the cultural life of the city. In the future, this area will be turned into an arts, creative, and entertainment complex, so the Ba'de shopping district will contain both technological industries and also elements of artistic creation. The warehouse will also be renovated, and the thirty enormous storage tanks will be put on public display, openly exhibiting the intimate details of a Beer Cultural Park.