Located in a small fishing village in Linbian, a rural township in the south of Taiwan, this new multi-use space is the home of the Fish Forest Team, a local group that organizes tours and events to attract more visitors and enliven the otherwise sleepy village whose overwhelming majority are elder retirees. Taiwanese design practice Atelier Boter approached the project foremost in relation to its context - humble in scope and simple in design, the space both reflects the village’s modest character and stands out in its distinct aesthetic of unassuming sophistication. Part workplace, part social hub, the Fish Forest Office is not meant to make a grand statement or impress but rather welcome and embrace in order to bring the local community together.
The designers have taken advantage of the property’s corner location, inserting all-glass facades that promote transparency and openness, encourage social interactions and instil a sense of community. For the same reason, they have added a cement porch that functions as a gathering spot for employees and villagers alike, echoing the street-facing verandas of the local houses where residents sit and chat with their neighbours.
With just 53 square metres of space to house both an 8-person office and a 20-person classroom, the designers embraced an open-plan configuration with a sheer curtain separating the two areas. Once the curtain is pulled back on the weekends, the space can also serve as a dining room for 30 people. A partition wall separating the kitchen from the main space is combined with a triangular wall-mounted tabletop to “correct” the irregular geometry of the floor plan, while a serving hatch facilitates the serving of dishes during the weekend banquets when the community comes together.
The space is enveloped in plywood, a humble material that imbues the space with a warm, homely ambience and reflects the village’s unsophisticated sensibility. The wooden materiality is also a welcoming antidote to the metal-clad buildings lining the streets. At night, the all-plywood interior becomes a glowing beacon for the whole neighbourhood, courtesy of the glass facades, further brandishing its communal character.