MOTIF: The Grass Mountain Teen Club, a brick compound on Yangming mountain that served as a club for US soldiers and their families stationed in Taiwan from the 1950s to the 1970s, has reopened as a public space for music, food and nostalgia. The former club, built in the 1950s and named Grass Mountain Teen Club in 1968, has been renamed the Brick Yard 33 1/3 (BY33). Combining indoor and outdoor spaces, it is a place where people can listen to vinyl records, eat food inspired by southern US cuisine and savor the atmosphere.

The project was undertaken under the Old House renaissance program launched by the Taipei City Government in 2012. Private investors were encouraged to join the project to restore “cultural properties” that had been abandoned and “revive” them by transforming them into cultural and creative spaces. In 2014, Motif landscape cooperate with HC design (architect) won the design competition to renovate the US soldiers’ club, which consisted of red-brick buildings and two swimming pools on a nearly 3,300 m2 site on a Yangmingshan hillside. After more than two years of construction, the club was transformed into a multipurpose complex divided into three areas: a dining room, a music room and a public bar.

The Beginning

When we first embarked on the project, the brick compound in Yangmingshan that once served as a club for American soldiers stationed in Taiwan was in a ruinous state with overgrown grasses and vines. The configuration of the space and the garden setting were not clarified until several reconnaissances and cleanings. During the decades of oblivion, nature had taken over the place. The segments of walls and columns we once called a building became the sidekick. Therefore we strive to retain the wildness of the newly designed landscape that blends in with the surrounding landscapes of Yangmingshan and Shamao Mountain, while the building floats on the canvas of this picturesque landscape. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces for exhibitions and performances, we transform the outdoor swimming pool into 8 cm depth water feature which kids can use as a playground or water theme park, while the central pathway serves as a catwalk for shows and when we dry the water then it becomes a plaza for various activities.

The garden

Cherry trees and indigenous species shrubs emerging from the red-brick surface and the curved bench look just like public art emerge into the landform. A central court yard, 0.1-acre pond (used to be 3.4 m deep swimming pool) creates a visual point for the main spaces within the site and the water feature play the role as a mirror which reflect the surrounding mountain scene so the trees seem to grow from beneath the water, emerging above the surface as majestic symbols of life and energy.

Landscape architecture: MOTIF
Other designers involved in the design of landscape :
Architect: HC design
Structural Engineer: Justin C. H. Shih Structural Engineer & Associates

Contractor: Guangli Construction
Client: U-Tech Media Chairman

Location: Yangmingshan, Taipei, Taiwan
Site Area: 1 Acres
Former Use: The Grass Mountain Teen Club 1950
Current Use: The Brick Yard 33 1/3 2016
Year Built: 2015
Landscape Project Completed: 2017
Total Cost of Project: $70 Million

Photography: Shuyuan Wu, Pin Ho, Monica Kuo, Shu Yi Tseng, HC design

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