Jump to the content zone at the center

Injecting New Life into Taipei Old House Cultural Movement Passing on Dadaocheng culture through creative revitalization

Rice & Shine (稻舍) and Backerhouse (貝殼好室), both located in the area around Dadaocheng, were today officially announced as two new additions to the Taipei cultural asset revitalization line-up. As part of the Taipei Old House Cultural Movement project, a collaboration with private institutions, the Department of Cultural Affairs put the two old buildings up for revitalization and reuse as permanent cultural assets. Future cultural exhibitions will be used to explain the buildings’ histories, and the spaces will also be reused for rice cuisine and culture projects and new crowd-funding experiences that will inject new life into the old houses.
In a speech given today, Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said that Taipei is the city with the most cultural assets in Taiwan, one-fifth of which are in the Dadaocheng area, and that he is very happy that Rice & Shine and Backerhouse have joined the Taipei Old House Cultural Movement project line-up.
As part of the Old House Cultural Movement project, for the first time in Taiwan, Taipei is using private resources in fund investments for cultural asset refurbishment, allowing the cost of restoration to be deducted from rent and maintenance costs and create a public–private partnership in cultural asset maintenance.
Twenty-two old houses are expected to open to the public this year. Taipei is a city rich with history and culture, and it is hoped that cultural asset revitalization will enable cultural assets to become a part of daily life for the city’s residents.
As an old Taipei district with a long history, Dadaocheng is home to a variety of urban styles. Many are continuations of architectural forms from the late Qing dynasty, Japanese colonial era, and post-war period. Together they form part of the district’s developmental texture, giving it a unique local character and shaping the historical pattern of its industrial development.
Currently, about 102 locales in Dadaocheng possess cultural assets closely tied to famous personalities, industries, and life in Dadaocheng. The historical buildings Shophouse No. 329, Section 1, Dihua Street (Rice & Shine) and No. 155, Section 1, Dihua Street (Backerhouse) were put into revitalization for reuse in 2020.
Private institutions have invested millions to commission professional teams to restore the old houses and preserve the historical memories they contain. Their revitalization and reuse have been planned according to their unique historical contexts so as to extend their life and vitality.
Former rice mill transformed into palace of rice cuisine
Rice & Shine officially joined the ranks of historical buildings in Taipei in 2020. Formerly known as the Yixing Rice Milling Factory, it was later converted into a commercial and residential building. The operations team invested close to NT$2 million to refurbish this historical rice factory and preserve its historical atmosphere.
Future exhibitions will display rice processing equipment, including early rice buckets and rice mills, and cultural exhibitions on rice planting and the history of rice processing are also planned. Rice cuisine and cultural experiences will enable tourists to immerse themselves in the fragrant aromas of rice and the fascinating history of this old mill.
Backerhouse: a new creative base
Backerhouse officially joined the ranks of Taipei’s historical buildings on July 25, 2005. The building combines architectural forms added at various stages through the Qing dynasty, Japanese colonial era, and post-war period. With its three entrances, this single-storey building also reflects the historical appearance of street market buildings in the Dadaocheng area. The operations team invested close to NT$5 million to carry out restoration and reuse work.
Exhibitions will show the public the old building’s past and present and retell its story. Also planned is a market fair with participation by over 50 crowd-funded brands, products, food and beverage vendors, and activities, transforming the 100-year-old building into a base for innovation, flowing with creative energy.
The Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs has been promoting the Old House Cultural Movement project since 2013 to revitalize Taipei’s cultural assets, and over the last nine years we have seen our efforts bear fruit. Aside from the two old buildings on Dihua Street that opened today, Grass Mountain Chateau, the former Taipei Prison Office, and the Lai Ancestral Residence are also slated for imminent opening. Twenty-two old Taipei buildings are expected to open to the public to visit and experience in 2022, and the city government will continue to public–private partnerships to harness the resources and creativity of private institutions to preserve and restore cultural assets.
Going forward, Rice & Shine and Backerhouse will support the local community by helping residents to develop local cultural and community activities. Residents are welcome to visit the restored buildings and experience their moving stories. For more information on cultural activities in Taipei, visit our Facebook page [link].