Hsinchu Primary Substation used to sit at the outer edge of the central city. As time passes by, followed by the growth of the central region, this once neglected infrastructure is now sandwiched between the brim of the metropolitan area and core living amenities. The 400 metres long footpath along the fence wall links the high-rise apartments and large retail stores at one end, and roads to schools and central city at the other. There is also a pedestrian bridge underneath the flyover, above zebra crossings to connect with the entire residential area and avoid congested traffic. The existing fence wall used to be painted with wall arts, which was a common and politically correct solution to beautify public spaces at the time. Over time this urban corridor still possesses an uninviting vibe and hence triggered our improvement proposal.

Carrying the stream and tumbling of the city life diligently, non-intrusive nor hidden, the large-scale primary substation steadily interconnects the electrical powers. Day by day it stands solitarily, surrounded by layers of tidal traffic flow. Those paradigmatic steel lattice towers and the overhead transmission lines composed an industrial scene, further intensified by the harsh solid fence wall units and mesh wire. As the city expands, events such as daily commutes, grocery shopping, night-time recreations gradually took place along this overlooked fence wall throughout the day. We made a proposition that accommodates and elevates people’s experiences during these events, taking account of the various movements, scales of the urban space and human figure, visually and physically.

We strategically intervene the site with wave-like luminous ribbons, aiming to introduce spatial guidance that engages people at various speeds and scales. Among the rapid traffic and wanders of the pedestrians, the upwards and downwards actions of the light rail reconcile the pace of the space. They are also designated as resting points throughout the walk next to the roaring traffic. Concealed in the stainless steel channels, the light meanders and flows freely through. It stretches and glides over the continuous and modularised concrete walls, visually breaking the rigid lines of the wall surface, representing senses of motion. This linear light follows and accompanies the pedestrians heading towards the other end of the wall, at times it lowers, widens and turns into a sitting bench, and at times it rises to become street lights for the footpath.

This organic and derivative creature attaches to the existing fence wall in a parasitic way. It is not only a vivid urban symbol but also a gentle nocturnal companion. Inhales and exhales like a living entity, its vitality empowered by the characteristics of the substation will keep pulsing in this technology-charged city of Taiwan.


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