Tainan West Market undergoing Restoration Till 2019

Tainan West Market, Repair and Restoration

Tainan West Market (台南西市場) is undergoing its repair and restoration work till 2019.

This old market was built in 1912 and during the period of Japanese Occupation. It was once the largest and most busiest market in the bustling West-Central District in Tainan City.

Tainan city was the old capital of Taiwan before 1887. The reminiscence of life in this city contiunes to stay on with the old generation of heartlanders.

The local people like to call it Capital City (府城) or more beautifully described as “The Phoenix City”.

Those in their 50s and 60s love the Mandarin pop song “Moonlight in the City” sang by a Singaporean artist Xu Meijing (許美靜城裡的月光).

The song lyrics have meaningly captured the sentiment of people living in Tainan City.

Indeed, the old city was full of vibes and inspiration. I do hope that one day, the city could rejuvenate to become a fledging phoenix city.

Now, conservation work of the building is worth its value. It does help those younger generation who wants to understand the early development and livelihood of Taiwan.

The century-old building had started its repair and restoration work since last May 2017. This shot was taken today.

Somewhere around March 2017, I did a broadcast at the entrance of Tainan West Market. Back then, the repair and restoration work was not yet started. Below is the video.

Mansard Roof of Old Tainan District Courthouse

Overview of the roof framing, mansard roof, Old Tainan District Courthouse

Last updated on September 19th, 2017 at 03:10 pm

Old Tainan District Courthouse was built in 1914 during the Japanese Occupation period in Taiwan.

It was designed by Japanese architect Matsunosuke Moriyama in the resemblance of the French Baroque style.

The building was closed in 2003 and reopened in November 2016. During this closing period of time, a full-scale restoration work was carried out.

The site was categorised as the second class historical monument by the Ministry of the Interior.

On this post, I shall describe the design and structure to my best of knowledge.

Please also watch the unscripted replay video I have recorded on my visit to Old Tainan District Courthouse at Section 1 Fuqian Road.

In Taiwan, as far as I know, almost all the national heritage buildings with French Baroque architecture do not permit or expose the framing works of the roof for public viewing.

At Old Tainan District Courthouse, it is the best opportunity to have a close-up view of the mansard roof; well-preserved and fully restored.

Based on the framing structure, there are two inclined parts of the roof.

The steeper roof is supported by lower rafters, having ratio of rise to run is 60:12. On top, a much gentle slope of ratio 3:12 is supported by upper rafters.

Due to the steep incline of the upper roof, the ridge line will be out-of-sight from ground floor.

The roof is reinforced by vertical web that raises from the floor joists up to the curb where the two roofs meet on each side.

Following that inwardly from both sides, another pair of inclined cantilever webs connects to the collar tie which is attached together with the ceiling joist.

Inside the framework, the floor joists made up the nominal span of the roof.

The design of the horizontal floor joist, the pair of vertical webs and the ceiling joist established the rectangular roof structure for interior framing.

This interior frame supports the two sides of rafters and curbs of two inclined roofs.

Right at the middle of the framework, it consists of a short king-post joining perpendicularly up to ridge beam at the pinnacle of the rooftop.

All the joints are securely strapped and bolted with metal gussets.

Some of the wooden beams are restored by joining new fabricated wood. Joints are tailored carpentry to match the original part.

You can see the difference in colors where the darker color shows the original old wood and whiter ones are new material.

In addition, the old wooden materials are ‘injected’ with epoxy consolidants to prevent further wood-rotting and insects infestation, such as termites.

At a closer inspection of wood surface, small drilled-burrows are visible and to necessitate the flow of penetrant.

The design of ox-eye windows or oeil-de-boeuf on the roof are the distinct characteristic of grand architecture of France Baroque.

These round windows are beyond the reach from the suspended service alley retrofitted at the center.

The suspended service alley is a unique integration to the entire mansard roof. Locally, there called it as the cat’s walkway.

The narrow walkway is retrofitted for engineering purpose, such as inspections, maintenance and repair work.

A similar structure of the service alley, can also be found at Former Tainan Public Meeting Hall located at Section 2, Minquan Road, West Central District.

At Former Tainan Public Meeting Hall, there is no public access to the attic roof. Only able to view from the hall at ground floor. Therefore, one has to look up to see the service alley.

Roof Framing, Mansard roof, Suspended Service Alley
Roof Framing, Mansard roof, Suspended Service Alley

The wooden back-wall at the entrance are laminated with thick planks. In-between each planks is reinforced with white elastic epoxy shown therein.

According the explanation from the tour guide, this elastic material helps to absorb stress from horizontal seismic events.

Interior wall of the entrance to mansard roof
Interior wall of the entrance to mansard roof

The guided tour to the roof is catered to very small group at two specific time slots per day. Plus, it limited to first 15 -20 pax of the queue due to resource.

It’s a very local tour and the drawback is that tour guide speaks Chinese Language. I was given permission by the staff on my second visit for video recording.

On the next post, I shall write about the missing west tower with the tapering conical roof called the spire.

Replay video of Old Tainan District Courthouse

On Google Map, This place is named Tainan Judicial Museum.

Skywell of Chinese Temple

Skywell in Chinese Temple, DaTianHouGong, Tainan, 大天后宮

This skywell of a Chinese temple is taken from Tainan DaTianHouGong (台南天后宮)

Skywell is located at the in-between interior region of a Chinese temple.

Just like windows on the wall, this opening allows daylight from above to send forth into the interior of the buildings.

In Chinese temple of southern Fujian architectural design, there are no windows on all the side-walls.

Design layout of Chinese temple usually built in sections or halls.

The main hall, altar bay, middle hall and rear hall. Including the side sections, like lecture hall, monk’s dormitory, kitchens.

The centre rows of halls, each, having different deities for worshipping and has skywells of different sizes.

That makes all the walls like boundaries with walk-through doors within the premises.

Unlike buildings with full coverage of roofing, these skywells don’t stop the rain from pouring down.

In this image, skywell is able to capture within the frame because it’s smaller in size.

The intricate silhouettes of terracotta tiles and articulated roof corners with dragon sculpture fountain are shown in this image.