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Completion of the Original Tainan Presbyterian Girls’ School Building and Lecture Hall Restoration Brings Octagonal Ventilation Tower Back to Life

The architectural style of the school building is a blend of Minnan and Western styles. The building is based on traditional Taiwanese houses, with a layout similar to that of a traditional Taiwanese courtyard home (Sanheyuan). However, the openings and interior of the building reflect Western architectural features. As a result, the building appears to be a Western building in the front but looks like a traditional courtyard house from the back, while the building surrounds a Western-style courtyard in the middle. The architecture is unique in that it is the combination of a traditional courtyard house and a Western-style center tower. The wooden octagonal ventilation tower situated in the center of the main building is a common feature found in British brick architecture. In the past, roof leaks prompted the school to cover its roof with steel panels. During this restoration process, damaged internal wooden structures were repaired and reinforced. The tower roof and sides were covered using brass, and window shutters were returned to their original design. The beautiful octagonal ventilation tower has made its reappearance.

Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage pointed out that the school was built during the Japanese colonial period and reflects the time when Western culture first entered Tainan. Because most of the technical workers were local craftsmen, the building displays a combination of Western and Minnan architectural styles in appearance, as well as in materials and techniques used. Some examples of this intermingling of cultures is the Western structure combined with Minnan roof tiles and a Japanese roof. The combination of different styles has great historical significance and preservation value. The restoration project refurbished the building, following its original design and bringing back the exposed brick wall and octagonal ventilation tower. The original shine of the historic site has returned. Now the school uses the building for teaching, school project exhibition, and showcasing documents and artifacts related to school history.

The total cost of the restoration project was NT$54.37 million, of which NT$35.34 million was subsidized by the Ministry of Culture, NT$13.59 million came from Tainan City Government subsidy, and NT$5.44 million was funded by the school. Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage assisted the school to contract out the restoration project in compliance with the Government Procurement Act. The project was supervised by Joe Shih Architects and restored by Zhengyu Construction Co. Ltd.