The Red House
Built in 1908, the Red House (Ximen, Taipei) was Taiwan’s first public market. A century later, the building is the most well preserved class III historical site in the country. The building was designed by Kondo Juro, a Japanese architect known for his Western-influenced works. The young architect incorporated both octagonal and cruciform shapes and gave the market entrance an “eight trigrams” (bagua) motif. The design was considered bold at the time, never having been seen in the East or the West. What is now known as “The Red House” in fact consists of the Octagon Building, the Cruciform Building and the adjacent North and South Squares.
In November 2007, Taipei’s Department of Cultural Affairs commissioned the Taipei Culture Foundation to run the Red House. The site underwent a series of transformations, and now visitors can find in the Octagon Building the Theatre, the Central Display Area, the Grid of Hundred Treasures, Cho West Cha and the Red House Boutique Area. In the Cruciform Building are the Creative Boutique, Cultural Arts Exhibition Platform and Riverside Live House. The North Square has a market for artists and designers, and the South Square contains an outdoor café. These changes made it possible to provide better public services, open up a space for creativity, attract crowds and promote the arts. The Red House has been transformed into a new cultural/creative industries development centre for Taipei City. In 2008, it was awarded the 7th Urban Landscape Award in the Historical Space Redevelopment Category.
When the Red House took charge of the Taipei Cinema Park in 2009, an installation art project entitled “Urban Show Case” was unveiled in an attempt to create an urban open space which could preserve collective memory. The project won gold medal in the Public Open Space category of the Face of Taipei City Award 2010.
The Red House also took over the management of buskers performing in the Ximen Pedestrian Zone. The aim is to promote art and culture while mobilizing the local community so that arts and cultural activities also enable the Ximen commercial district to prosper. More than 1,000 arts and cultural events were held in 2009, and more than 4 million visits to these events were recorded, making the Red House a major location for the development of the cultural/creative industries in west Taipei. In 2010, the Cradle of Cultural Creative Dreamer was launched in the Cruciform Building, which is dedicated to fostering creative brands. In 2011, the Red House continued to create innovative spaces to give the historical building a new face.
How to get there
1. By public transport
Metro: a minute’s walk from Exit 1 of Taipei Metro Ximen Station (Bannan Line)
Bus: San Chung Bus (Wugu–Taipei, Zhonggang–Beimen, Huilong–Taipei lines), Zhinan Bus No. 3, Blue 2, 9, 12, 18, 25, 49, 52, 201, 202, 205, 206, 209, 212, 218, 221, 223, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 253, 257, 513, 624, 621, and 640. Get off at the MRT Ximen or Ximen Market stop
2. By car
Parking information: Car parks operated by Taiwan Parking, Zhonghua, Shizilin, Far Eastern Department Store, Zhongshan Hall and Ermei Parking Tower (No. 83, Ermei St., Taipei City)
The Red House
(Octagon Building) 11.00–21.30, Tuesday to Sunday; 11.00–22.00, Friday and Saturday.