MVRDV designs a vegetable market in Taiwan

The Dutch firm reinvents the market typology, incorporating social gathering moments and cultivated terraces into the design.

MVRDV recently completed the construction of a new wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Taiwan, a southwestern region of Taiwan Island. In the design, the Dutch firm attempts a procedure of reinventing the wholesale market typology-canonically housed in simple metal sheds-and transforms it into a mix of market and public green space. Thus also conceived as an important social gathering project, the architecture not only serves as an important hub for the country’s food supply chain, but is also a destination to meet, and admire the surrounding landscape from the building's accessible rooftop.

MVRDV, Tainan Market, Tainan, Taiwan, 2023. Photo © Shephotoerd

The design includes a simple open structure with an undulating green roof that forms a series of rolling hills. At the eastern corner, on the other hand, the roof slopes down to ground level through a sequence of cultivated terraces allowing visitors easy access to the top of the building. On one side, a simple four-story structure contains the market’s administrative offices and an exhibition center where agricultural products from the region can be displayed.

Under the roof, therefore, the market space is simple but highly functional. The structure is open on all sides, and the building’s high undulating ceilings allow for significant natural ventilation, which in combination with the thermoregulatory effect of the earth and plants on the roof makes the project energetically passive.

“The surroundings of Tainan, in my opinion, are one of those areas that I really like because of their nature, fields, farms, sea and mountains,” says Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “The Tainan market reflects this beauty and integrates with the landscape. It is fully functional and meets the needs of auctioning, selling and buying goods, but its terraced roof with - eventually - its collection of plants and crops will allow visitors to admire the landscape and escape the hustle and bustle below.”

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