This issue inquiries about the development of Taiwan's architecture from the 1950s to the 1980s through the theme of "Twofold Reconstruction." After the end of World War II, Taiwan's political and socio-cultural environment underwent drastic changes; at the same time, Taiwan's architecture experienced a profound reconstruction. What is the relationship between the historical reconstruction of Taiwan's architecture and the political, economic, social, and cultural context? This question needs to be urgently clarified. More significantly, we should realize that reviewing this particular part of history is also an action of reconstructing ourselves: by rebuilding history and reconnecting with the past, we reconnect with ourselves. History is a mirror that reflects our current images.
In "Societas Missionaria de Bethlehem (SMB) and Modern Churches in Taitung," Kuanchih HUANG traces the history of the development of local church architecture, which is unique and considerably different from the mainstream architecture in western Taiwan. Furthermore, HUANG explores the construction of their sacred space from the physical experience perspective. In contrast to HUANG's article, which focuses on the transplantation of the new space of the Western church to Taitung, the following three essays deal with the historical experience of transplanting Chinese traditions to postwar Taiwan. Besides, these essays are inspiring in broadening the understanding of the Chinese tradition manifested in Taiwan's architecture after World War II. In "The Republican China and Confucianism: Ritual Architecture in the National Discourse of Postwar Taiwan," Yi-Chih HUANG discusses postwar buildings, such as the National Palace Museum, the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine, and Temples of Confucius in terms of the "ritual system" used in Imperial China. He provides pertinent remarks on the significance of these architectural symbols, which we find empty today, to the rulers in the authoritarian atmosphere of the time. However, in Ya-Chun CHIANG's "The Coincidence and Trial of Nature and National Traditions in Chinese Culture: A Study of Yu-Jun Lu’s Discursive Practices from Ming Tang Xin Kao to Da- Cheng Building," she re-examines Lu Yu-Jun's views and practices. As the official representative of architectural expression under the reconstruction of national history in CHIANG Kai-shek's regime, Lu Yu-Jun focused on studying the Ming Tang of the Zhou Dynasty when reconstructing Chinese architectural tradition. And the study background was that Lu aimed to discuss the Chinese architectural traditions outside the Society for the Study of Chinese Architecture. At that time, Liang Sicheng refused to relocate to Taiwan with the Nationalist government, and the publications of the Society for the Study of Chinese Architecture were banned, leaving a vacancy in the discourse of Chinese architectural tradition that urgently needed to be replenished. Lu Yu-Jun did not take archaeological objects as the starting point, as in the case of the Society for the Study of Chinese Architecture. Yet, peculiarly, his research focused on texts from ancient books. In addition, he tried to connect "Ming Tang" architecture to the philosophy of "unity of heaven and humanity" to converge with the organism of modern architectural naturalism. According to CHIANG, the result of his procrustean research made Lu Yu-Jun's effort invalid.
In "Concepts of Traditions in the Early Postwar Period between Da-Hong Wang and Kenzo Tange," KO Sheng-Chieh highlights Da-Hong Wang's individualistic perspective and method of modernizing traditional Chinese architecture. In addition, he introduces Tange Kenzo's concept of Japanese architecture tradition to compare and contrast with Wang's, providing us with a broader view of the development of architectural traditions in postwar East Asia. Compared to the above-mentioned four articles, which focus on the "symbolic" aspect of architecture, Meng-Ying SHEN concentrates on the practical side of architecture in her article, "Vertical Housing Practices: The Postwar Public Housing Program of Taiwan from the 1950s to the 1980s." SHEN first describes the historical development of high-rise residences in postwar Taiwan's public housing projects. Then, she discusses the corresponding social and economic conditions and points out the various unresolved issues that followed vertical housing. Finally, besides the five research articles that have passed rigorous academic review, we would like to introduce the article "Shu-Shung Loo and Cultural Reconstruction of Taiwan's Architecture and Construction Industry in the Early Post-war Period (1946-1947)" through "Historical Source and Commentary" section. Through his research on the archives of the "Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office," the author, Ruei-Hong WENG, reveals a little-known cultural reconstruction project led by the Construction and Planning Bureau, which echoes the articles by Yi-Chih HUANG and Ya-Chun CHIANG.
These authors shed light on the research of Taiwan's architecture with rich historical sources. They further present a shared understanding of postwar Taiwan's architecture; they seem to agree that "external creation" was a significant force in shaping Taiwan's architecture. Societas Missionaria de Bethlehem initiated the development of modern architecture in Taitung. The state apparatus of the Nationalist Government established Chinese architectural traditions in Taiwan. Furthermore, Da-Hong Wang practiced his modern Chinese architecture experimentation, and the government implemented the Western public housing project in Taiwan. It was the external forces that facilitated the development of Taiwan's architecture. These historical sources may trigger further questions: Was there a corresponding and counteracting "internally-created" force in the architectural community during this period? Or are local factors still to be discovered in these discourses and practices? Indeed, the answers are beyond the scope of this issue, and we look forward to future responses.