Ta Lee Plaza by UNStudio



Here's a third new project by Dutch architects UNStudio: construction is underway on Ta Lee Plaza, a department store in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


In recent years Kaohsiung has developed rapidly to become a major international container port and Taiwan's second largest city.


The building will centre around a 10-storey atrium, in which each escalator is positioned to spiral up to the next floor.


The current store closed earlier this year but when redevelopment and extension work are completed it will be one of the biggest department stores in the country.


See our earlier stories on UNStudio's Post Rotterdam project and Louis Vuitton flagship store.

Update: see the completed development in our new story.

Here is some information from UNStudio:


Technically acting as a sunscreen and weather barrier the curved façade is fully glazed and combines the curtain wall glazing with horizontal lamellas and vertical glass fins. The position and size of each of the façade elements are derived from a twisted frame system, which is related to the interior organisation of the building. The concave front of the building displays different fluent forms when seen from varying distances and directs the visual field of the customers traveling on the spiraling escalators.


The concept for the interior organization of the department store reacts to the ambition to develop a luxurious store on several floors with multiple access points. Therefore the central circulation space is designed as a continuous floor space merging in to one vertical space, the void space. The geometric principle of the vertical void space is the allocation of the elements of vertical circulation around the central zone of the store.


In synchronization with the rotation of the façade geometry the sets of escalators spiral upwards to the tenth level and connect with the two basement levels. Through the vertical void customers have clear sight lines, with views of the shop facades and activities around this public void. All public circulation is arranged at different floor levels; the vertical space also acts as a way-finding instrument and as an orientation point.

Client: President Group, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Location: Kaohsiung Talee Plaza, Kaohsiung
Program: Luxurious shopping center
Design of exterior: Façades and lighting, related exterior spaces
Design of Interior: Circulation zones and Public spaces
Building surface: 25.500 m2 + 11.100 m2 for parking levels
Building volume: 135.000 m3 + 38.000 m3 for parking levels
Building site: 28050 m2
Status/Phase: Realization

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Astrid Piber with Ger Gijzen, Christian Veddeler, Mirko Bergmann, Albert Gnodde, Sebastian Schott, Freddy Koelemeijer, Katja Groeger, Jirka Bars, Andreas Brink

Lighting Design: Arup Lighting, Amsterdam
Wayfinding Design: Bureau Mijksenaar, Amsterdam

Executive Architects:
Dynasty Design Corp, Taipei, Taiwan
HCF Architects, Planners & Associates, Taipei, Taiwan

Posted on Monday August 4th 2008 at 6:00 pm by Rob Ong. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • scruces

    WOW – UNSTUDIO has got to be outputing the best projects of all the other superstar firms out there…

  • Diaphanous_abyssinian

    I am consistently disappointed by this office…what are you trying to do Ben? We already have one Zaha!

  • Tyler

    The escalator core reminds me a lot of the Selfridges at the Bullring in Birmingham-


  • Tyler

    wicked idea with this interpolation! i like it a lot.

  • jxd

    a moiré interference pattern is interesting precisely because it becomes animated as one moves and the resulting pattern is completely dependent on the position of the observer.

    to freeze one snapshot of a moiré for a facade seems weak. it leaves one longing for a masterful orchestration of the real phenomenon.

    i doubt this project will leave the “after image” that Ben van Berkel speaks of so eloquently in his lectures.

  • freedom

    texturized fluid.

  • tim

    Ive never sean faux moire before. Despite the zaha-ness I like it. Seems like new ground at least to me.

  • Man

    Really funky building…

  • illegal

    DiaPhallus , you moron..

  • Azeem

    WOw !! excellent deisgn love the facade interpretation of jagged up light. Lovin IT

  • yawn … boring
    sorry, i just don’t get it

  • Ken

    same elevators as Mercedes Benz museum, which look very sci-fi. I love the forced aliasing of the facade from far away (pict #4, little night shot), but the detailing of the window screens it a little clunky when you get close up. UN-Studio has been a long time favorite of mine, but the last few projects posted on this website are not helping – namely the LV Store – what are they thinking!

  • Karin Lee

    I am from Kaohsiung, Taiwan and i can't be more thrilled to have such cutting edge department store in my home town! This would certainly become "the" landmark of Kaohsiung and generate & inspire greater and better design works in this city. Ah! I am so happy with this development!

  • tnx

    Blur and confused are two words firstly jumped into my mind when looking at the pictures. But internal is quite interesting.

  • Sorry, y’all. I just can’t see any Zaha-ness in UNstudio’s work. They’re greatly doing their own things.

    It’s like you’re saying Richard Meier have been doing some Corbusiens. C’ mon, nothing can be too original, gotta admit that. At least all UNstudio’s projects are easier to build than Hadid’s.

  • texxeen

    van berkel and bos love maths indeed, does anyone see a hyperbola?

  • atomant

    groooooveey facade dude! I like the fourth picture, is that final or are they gonna put white plaster on it?

  • atomant

    ^ fifth picture i mean..

  • One

    It i a “theoretical” building isn’t it?

    the thing is not dependent on its materialisation, it is dependent on the notion that we all loves mathematics. Perhaps one that still follow Louis Sullivan’s Manifesto…?

  • ghulam

    me want to see more picture like this building. please download more.

  • aNton

    wow..i am speechless..i love the rotating escalator..yeah..like BMW’s one…never end circulation..hmm..but i don’t really interested with the facade…why it should like that.. is there any concept for that or not…

  • Brilliant!

  • Andrea

    i love it!!! very creative and original it completly blew my mind!