By: Jade Yong
Think about Taiwan’s skyline and the 101 building comes to mind immediately. But when you think about its culture, its history, its soul… then it’s the Presidential Office Building that encapsulates what Taiwan is about.
There is no building in Taiwan that holds more political, cultural and military relevance historically. Naturally, the Presidential Office Building is referred to oftmost, as the Grand Dame of Taiwan.
When Taiwan was ruled by the Japanese after being ceded by the Qing Dynasty to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, its new Governor-General needed an office. Design competitions were eventually held, and it was a design by Japanese architect Uheiji Nagano that was ultimately decided upon although additions and changes were made to the final design.
Under the creative and careful eyes of architect Matsunosuke Moriyama, the central tower was almost doubled in height, and improvements were made for the purpose of defences in the corners of the building. Typical to Japanese architecture from the era, neo-classical European, Renaissance and Baroque styles were apparent.
The building, completed in 31 March 1919, was an opulent building from the start; a statement to the might and sophistication of the Japanese. But when World War II came around, the building suffered major damage from the bombings of the Allied forces on the Japanese, resulting in the latter’s surrender as well as Japan’s evacuation from Taiwan in 1945. It wasn’t until 1947 that the building started restoration work.
Now, the 300-roomed building sits resplendent on Chongqing South Road, its magnetism naturally draws in any one who visits the city of Taipei. Security forces surround the building inside and outside - no wonder though, it is still the Office of the ROC President - although 10,000 lucky visitors get a tour of the building every month.
In the spirit of celebrating the Presidential Office Building’s monumental 100th anniversary, for the first time ever the General Association of Chinese Culture (GACC), along with the Office of the President and Tourism Bureau is offering the opportunity for any international tourists to stay a night in the building. The “Spend A Night @ Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building” campaign is the first of its kind in the world that opens the head of state’s office building for tourists to stay overnight with the aim to promote Taiwan tourism. Travelers chosen for this program will serve as Friendship Ambassador and are expected to share their experience with the world through social media.
Those lucky enough to win the opportunity will stay in a spacious room, decorated in authentic Taiwanese style, and located in an ancillary building on the Presidential Office grounds. During their overnight stay, the admitted visitors will be given complimentary breakfast, butler service, access to flag raising ceremony and free tour to the Presidential Office Building.
Now open for application, anyone over the age of 20 and not a citizen of the Republic of China is eligible to sign up on the program’s official website.
Application is now open till August 31, 2019. Get more event details or submit your application at www.nightattaiwan.tw
This content was produced in partnership with GACC.