Monday, November 10, 2008


I'm trying my best to document this unique(?) and rather wasteful practice that I've been made aware of in Taipei's real estate industry: Once someone is ready to build an apartment building on their land they naturally want to sell some of the units first. So before they build it, they construct an extremely modern-looking, but extremely cheap temporary structure in which they try to impress potential buyers.
The first one Devin and I became aware of was called Opus 1. For months we thought that it was some swank club where rich people went. That is, until Devin walked by and the place was completely torn down. Then, as I was passing a really ugly one with a friend one day, she told me that they stay up for about a year, then are torn down to make way for the real structure. And the final confirmation came to me a couple of months ago, when one started to go up down the street from my home. It has been interesting to see the process, and to see the fact that it is almost entirely made of plywood. There is no foundation (which may be a bad idea, since this particular one is on a steep, muddy hillside).
Here are a couple of examples of the buildings.

This one looked really nice at night, but a closer look during the day showed some shoddy workmanship. Note the ripples in what I assume is tin in the second photo:

This one is down the street from us. It looks super nice from the front, but the back reveals a tin roof and lotsa plywood.

This one is in a line of about 3 in the rapidly growing neighborhood of Nangang in east Taipei. Looks super nice, but is connected to some crappy little shack on the back end.

This will be an ongoing hunt. For more, check my photo page.