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Renovation project on Tunghai University's iconic church launched

2015/01/16 21:09

The Luce Memorial Chapel. CNA photo Jan. 16, 2015

Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) Tunghai University in central Taiwan has received a grant from a U.S. foundation for sustainability studies and structural renovations of the Luce Memorial Chapel on its campus.

U.S. Senior Fulbright Scholar Randall Nadeau, a visiting professor at Tunghai University in the central city of Taichung, will be responsible for carrying out the project, which was officially launched Friday.

Tunghai University was among the first 10 recipients of architectural conservation grants from the California-based Getty Foundation under its "Keeping It Modern" initiative, which focuses on the conservation of modern architecture.

Among the recipients, Tunghai University is the only one located in Asia, while most of the others are in the United States and Europe.

A hallmark of mid-century modernist architecture, the Luce Chapel was jointly designed by Chen Chi-kuan (陳其寬) and Ieoh Ming Pei (貝聿銘) and completed in 1963.

The Getty grant will fund "in-depth research into the history of the building's construction, materials and past conservation efforts, as well as analysis and testing to provide much needed-weather proofing and climate control in the region's typhoon-prone environment," according to a statement by Nadeau.

Kuo Chi-jeng (郭奇正), a professor at Tunghai's Department of Architecture, said that the chapel also demonstrates the value of culture and education.

According to initial evaluations, the chapel's main structure remains intact, but tiles used on the exterior, as well as the air conditioning system, need to be renovated, Kuo said.

The Luce Chapel is named after Henry W. Luce (1868-1941), a prominent American missionary. The history of the chapel is related to the Christian origins of Tunghai University, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year.

Tunghai was founded in 1955 under the auspices of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.

(By Chen Shu-fen and Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/J