TUESDAY 10 October 2006, 6:00 PM, Refreshments 5.45 pm,
The Elliot Room, MINTO HOUSE & THE MALTINGS
20 CHAMBERS STREET. EDINBURGH EH1 1JZ
The University of Edinburgh, School of Arts, Culture, and Environment
The desire to protect buildings of architectural and historic significance has a
long pedigree in Britain date from the 19th century. France embarked their statutory process of identifying
and protecting its historic heritage even earlier. This in turn has led to the discussion about how to
adequately protect the heritage for future generation and why protection was important. But the debate
about what values are really represented by the process of identification is beginning to emerge in the
eastern world whilst comparing with the European theoretical system. Building conservation is not an
intrinsic culture in the eastern world especially in the Chinese culture based area. Taiwan as part of
this ethnic culture circle did not have a constant idea to its historic building heritage as well. What
are the public values to built environment and its conservation needs to be defined for architectural,
social and urban study.
Taiwan can be categorised as a ‘colonial’ culture, an island that was settled by successive waves of Chinese, Japanese, and European invaders who imposed upon a native culture that itself was the product of earlier migrations, each of whom brought distinct traditions of building. It is not just that Taiwan has a considerably varied stock of old buildings; there is, rather, a cultural palimpsest in which each layer carries very different meanings, both at the moment of creation and in retrospect. We shall argue that these traditions came to have a political significance for good or ill that was to shape attitudes to the protection of historic buildings in the past fifty years.