Almost everything has its times and eventually gets replaced by improved versions! Although I am an apologist for progress and development, I find it essential to maintain as much as possible the past alive. It helps the new generations understand where they came from and who they are.
But unfortunately this does not happen all the time.
The recovery of old patrimony and the natural evolution of modern architecture are sometimes destroyed and replaced by an ignorant need of exhibitionism of undefined kitsch.
This tends to happen more often in developing countries, immediately after emerging from a black period in their history, characterized by oppression at many levels.
When economies start to grow, sometimes money comes faster and easier than education and as to mark these days of economical prosperity, urban landscapes get marked forever – the nouveau rich est arrive’ confused, tasteless, and kitsch as ever.
Walking around Tainan city, we come across with a range of different house styles, some that truly marked a part of Taiwan’s history and from which we can still learn a lot today:
A bungalow made out of 100% natural materials, palm trees and bamboo – The typical aboriginal’s housing during many centuries in this island.
A town house built during the Japanese occupation (first half of the 20th century).
Today is abandoned right in the heart of the city (my front neighbor). I often ask my friends why they don’t take the opportunity and transform it in a residence or a nice lounge restaurant. The answer is first its old and people here prefer the new and then second it’s next to a temple where typically there are many ghosts.
And finally a house (my neighbor next door) built during the latest Tawian economic boom (late 20th century), whose architect (if I can call that person such name) was tripping big time on his 10 days-10 countries trip to Europe!
If I had the opportunity to influence progress here, I would not allow such kind of cultural terrorism in this beautiful ancient town and would restore the old charming houses even if we had to share them with the ghosts next door. After all, they are very friendly and share with us their beautiful temples!