The Story of Firefly NTCAM

Programme: New Taipei Contemporary Art Museum International Competition
Site: New Taipei


The Story of Firefly-the New Taipei City Art Museum (NTCAM)         螢火蟲的故事

Once there was a hot temper young man, who often complained of not succeeding in whatever he pursued.

The Grandfather, seeing his grandson‘s frustration, told him to go into the woods and look for a special firefly.  Legend has it whoever caught a glimpse of this particular firefly would have endless WISDOM.

Intrigued by the myth, the young man went into the woods at night with a big torch.  He came back empty handed after a whole night of search.  Angry and exhausted, he blamed his grandfather to have misled him.  The grandfather smiled back and suggested to go with him the following night.

When they reached deep into the woods, the grandson walked faster and faster, waving his torch, frantically looking tree after tree for the mythical fireflies.  On the contrary, the grandfather remained calm and composed. He then reached over to take the big torch away from the grandson, and put it out by a splash of water.

“The Forest is so dark already, how can we see anything, not to mention the fireflies?!” exclaimed the grandson.  The grandfather didn’t answer but signaled the grandson to keep silent. Moments later, the forest started to lit up slowly but surely by the fireflies that have been there all along.

“The torch has blinded you. Wait till your eyes adjust to the darkness, you can see the subtle yet glowing light from the forest, they are the fireflies-Souls of the woods”

The Grandfather continued: “When you think your life is at the darkest point, it may be the precise moment when you can find most hopes and aspirations, that is the WISDOM of the firefly”

The concept for developing the New Taipei City Art Museum (NTCAM) is driven by our strong belief and conviction on placing the importance of young people and children with the future development of the museum as a site for interactive learning.

The NTCAM is located on the periphery of the city. It is framed by urban development on one side and natural wetlands on the other. The layout of the museum is sensitive to these site forces.  We proposed to place all activities related to children and young people elevated off the ground, heightening a sense of importance of children and young people as caretakers and gatekeepers to the future of not only New Taipei City, but also Taiwan R.O.C.

The most prominent exhibition hall is elevated 25 M off from the ground, a large scale open exhibition gallery frames the Ceramic Museum at a distance, and slowly morphed into a D-I-Y studio learning center which faces the art villages nearby, forming a CULTURAL LINK.

The THEATRE SPHERE is located at the heart, providing performance spaces for nurturing children creativities and sharpening young minds.

The ECOLOGY STRIP is a swooping curve that provides panoramic views and an opportunity to understand the ecological implications of the nearby Dahan River area.

The LEISURE STRIP is located near the ground level which provides Art shops and flea market for various independent artists to display their artworks.

The permanent exhibition halls are located underground to minimize the effect of natural lights to these areas. It also provides direct and express access to all elevated program, forming various “activities loops” within the complex.

Perhaps the most captivating aspect of the design is the night view of NTCAM.  With the cityscape and natural landscape as background to the museum, it resonates with the story of the firefly, giving HOPES and ASPIRATIONS to the future generations of young people of Taiwan.