2020 / October
Lin Min-hsuan /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by Brandon Yen
Completed in 1960, the Chapel Building of St. Joseph Technical Senior High School in Taitung City is a work of the late Swiss architect Justus Dahinden.
A four-story building in the brutalist style, it features rough, bare béton brut walls. Simple geometric lines govern the shapes of both the neat rows of rainwater outlets on the parapets on the front façade and the long span of shade-casting vertical bars in the rear. On the wall that flanks the spiral staircase are irregularly spaced rectangular openings of various sizes. Framing picturesque views, they bring some variety to the otherwise unadorned concrete building.
The chapel is situated in an enclosed space on the top floor. Natural light is filtered through a skylight above the altar and through apertures below the pitched roof, complementing the luminosity of the stained-glass windows depicting the Stations of the Cross in the wall to the right of the pews. When the sun shines through the stained glass, projecting multicolored patches of light upon the wooden seats, the chapel becomes utterly enchanting.
The Chapel Building, whose defining style lies in its distinctive structural “plates,” originated in a fundraising campaign launched by Rev. Jakob Hilber of the Bethlehem Mission Society in order to establish a vocational school in Taitung. Over the past 60 years, the school has educated many talented people, testifying to the selfless work of foreign missionaries in Taiwan.