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Mayor Ko visits Songshan Cultural and Creative Park

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Mr. Zhang Jiyi, left, director of Taiwan Design Research Institute explains to Mayor Ko why Songshan Cultural and Creative Park’s reading room is not just a library. Photograph: DOCA

Rewritten by Ariston Ramos
The Taipei City Government has recently been promoting “Museums without Walls.” Xinyi District, the city’s youngest administrative district, is now the political, economic and cultural center of Taipei.
It is also the home of three major cultural heritage sites: the former Songshan Tobacco Factory, the old Taipei Railway Workshop, and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. In the future, Xinyi District will also be home to the Xinyi Songyan Museum without Walls.
This museum will be built within Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and have the Taipei Arena as its close neighbor. On December 13, Mayor Ko Wenje visited the Park to experience the day-to-day cultural activities of Taipei’s young people. In a brief speech that he gave, he invited Taipei citizens to find time to visit the park and enjoy the city’s historical heritage and creative ambience.
“The Xinyi Songyan Museum without Walls will form a chain with the design, fashion, and sports activities in the area,” he said.
The Songshan Cultural and Creative Park will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its opening in 2021 and Taipei Arena is expected to open in 2022. To prepare for these events which could lead to increased visitors and jointly organized activities, the park improved its night lighting system and delayed the closing time of its stores. It also increased services for visitors.
In the future, when the old Taipei Railway Workshop becomes a park, it will be another cultural attraction in the city together with Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Taipei 101.

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The Books Ofuro Photograph: DOCA

In the old Songshan Tobacco Factory, the library and the bathhouse for female employees used to be located in the same building section. In July this year, that section was renovated into a reading room with close to one hundred titles of magazines on art, industry, design, architecture, and fashion and 10,000 books on the same subjects. In the renovation, architects adopted the design concept of a Japanese soaking tub (ofuro).  Originally, an ofuro was a steep-sided wooden bathtub.  Bathers would step into it and have a leisurely and pleasurable bath.
What could now be called the “Books Ofuro” (泡書) has a sunken reading space surrounded by books. A visitor would go down a short flight of stairs whose steps are made of what look like books to enter this ofuro and soak himself in books.