A Spiritual Space:

The Brutalist Campus of Sacred Heart High

2019 / December

Lin Min-hsuan /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by JR Lee

Standing tall on a hillside in New Taipei City’s Bali District are the brutalist buildings of Sacred Heart High School for Girls. The buildings, in the shape of a giant vessel, were designed by Japanese architect Kenzō Tange.

Completed in 1967, the buildings comprise three sections: administration, dormitories, and cafeteria. The long, flat buildings are connected by towers and finished with a rough ash-white terrazzo.

Rather unadorned at first glance, the slate and river rocks on the terrace, the cafeteria’s partitioning walls, and the winding stairs built into the towers reveal rich details.

The shifting sun alters the light and shadows inside and outside the buildings, endlessly reshaping them. The shadows cast by the triangular window bays constantly change, and a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colors cascades into the chapel through a stained-glass skylight.

More than 50 years old, these buildings have received the school’s best care so future generations can experience the subtleties and precision of a space crafted by a master architect.

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