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Wang Dahong Archive 王大閎作品檔案

[circa 1937–2000s]
The Wang Dahong Archive documents 38 proposed and built projects in the U.S. and Taiwan from 1943 to 1998 by architect Wang Dahong, and Dahong Architects, as well as his thoughts, networks, and practice as designer, writer, and Taiwanese cultural figure. The archive comprises 298 items, including project drawings of elevations, sections and plans, sketches, photos, negatives, slides, articles, postcards, correspondences, printed documents, and notes. The majority of the materials, in particular the personal notes, correspondences, sketches, photos, and documentation of earlier projects, formed part of a folder that Wang Dahong himself had put together through the years, providing an intimate glimpse into the architect’s interests and work within and beyond the field of architecture.

Documentation relating to Wang Dahong’s designs as a Harvard Graduate School of Design student and graduate between 1943-1947 bear elements that show the formative influences, values, and approaches that underpinned the rest of his architectural practice. The mediated projects demonstrate his deft application of building technologies and materials, his interest in exploring issues of habitation and rituals as well as notions of luxury and simplicity, and his profound understanding and integration of multiple historical and cultural conceptions of space derived from his steeped Euro-American training and affinity for Chinese traditions. Designs betray aspects of Mies-ian openness, outdoor-indoor reversal, and challenges to the (Western) utilitarian use of the bathroom. Wang’s work forms an inquiry into, and resolution of, multiple cultural influences, expressing consciousness of his Chinese ethnic and cultural background, and a sense of universality as much as a certain cultural specificity, such as how he had cited the conceptions of a "home" by ancient Greeks and Romans to the Chinese. Most importantly, his use of design frameworks from European or Chinese classicism was far from simplistic or superficial, and often applied with a slight subversion.

In projects such as Architect’s House on Jianguo South Road (1953), Chen Residence in Tian Mu (1979), Hong-Ying Apartment (1979), and Li Residence in Hua Lian (1997), Wang attempted to resolve multiple classical and modern cultural conceptions of the home on the level of plan and elevation, such as in the varied use of the moon-gate as part of a house façade or the use of interior walls instead of an outdoor garden feature. Wang, however, seems to go beyond issues of cultural identity in the design of large-scale and public projects, particularly in his Competition Project for the Palace Museum of Taiwan (1961), and the canonical design of the Competition Project for Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall (1965-72).

Apart from his highly canonical residential and cultural public projects, Wang’s practice was behind the design of numerous office buildings, factories, university administration and library buildings, research centres, golf clubs, in particular the spaceship-like Golf Club at Tam-Shui (1963). The practice represents the cross-section of Taiwan’s post-war development in the industrial, agricultural, economic, and cultural sectors. His factory and office design began with Foremost Dairies Office and Factory (1955), followed by the rare circular multi-story Taiwan Petroleum Corporation Magung Office building (1960), ending with the Lilon Zhong Li Factory Office & Garden (1998) as the last factory office he designed with his son Wang Shou-Cheng after the formal closing of Dahong Architects. The extensive plans and detailed sections of the Lilon project are examples of Wang’s attempt to humanise the banal factory office with multiple varied designs that located the office on an artificial water body as part of a landscaped garden with a pavilion.

Documentation of unbuilt projects exists, for example in the form of photographs of renderings and models of projects such as the Taiwan China House Architecture Centre (1964-65) and Fu He Shi Shopping Mall (1964). This archive includes correspondences and notes that indicate Wang Dahong’s relationship with a network of architects and cultural figures built through his training at Cambridge and Harvard. It also includes notes and other printed material that showed the role Wang played within and beyond the field of architecture, primarily as translator and writer.
CA30/1 to CA30/3 are arranged chronologically by project; CA30/4 is arranged by project; CA30/5 is arranged by material format and subject.
Archival materials related to Wang Dahong held by different organizations including Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture (台灣文化主管部門文化資產局), The Lin Yutang House, National Taiwan Museum; and individuals including Wang Zhenhua, Xiao Mei, Xu Mingsong, Zhan Xunci.


Object Number
Archive Creator
Archival Level
[circa 1937–2000s]
298 items
Credit Line
M+, Hong Kong. Gift of Family of Wang Dahong, 2015

Early architectural projects

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Architectural projects undertaken by Dahong Wang & Associates

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Later architectural projects

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Unidentified architectural projects

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Non-architectural and personal papers

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