Metaphors of the Nation: the architectural programme of the KMT under Chiang Kai-shek’s rule in post-war Taiwan
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This is a study of nationalism and its visual representation in Taiwan’s architecture. Although nationalism studies have achieved significant theoretic breakthroughs in sociology, politics and history over the past decades, its close relationship with architecture has not received enough attention. In recent related architectural literature, too much emphasis is placed on stylistic analysis concerning ‘national style’, and less on those wider social, cultural and political factors which also play an important role in shaping nationalistic architecture during nation-formation. In order to bridge the gap, this thesis attempts to carry out a cross-disciplinary study, engaging architecture with the notion of nationalism and other relative perspectives in a quest for better understanding. In doing so, Taiwan’s nationalistic architecture is divided into four different building types: the martyrs’ shrine, the museum, the parliament building and the memorial hall. By examining these types and cases, this thesis argues that nationalistic architecture is a particular type of building created by specialised architects who were encouraged to select certain visible and cultural markers, establishing a symbolic link connecting the current nation with its previous ethnic roots in the service of politics during the age of nation-building. As a part of a growing body of research on nationalism and its architectural representations, this thesis aims to advance our understanding of the important issue regarding the relationship between nationalism and architecture in Taiwan, and to contribute to future research on similar topics.