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ENCLOSED BALCONIES: COMPLICITY BETWEEN BUILDERS AND USERS OF TAIPEI WALKUPS

Abstract
By : Jin-Ann Lin

 
The balcony, an integral element in modernist housing, can be found in almost every Taipei apartment building. Even so, in Taipei most balconies have been enclosed by users of all social classes. This paper looks into the historical context of the enclosed balcony by arguing that the identity and origins of the Taipei balcony are inseparable from the 1960s birth of a modernist housing type‒‒the Taipei walkup.
Balcony provision, governed by building codes inherited from a colonial past, has been incorporated into the system of speculative market housing. For builders, balconies are profitable floor areas that can be promoted as a symbol of modern living; for users, balconies are additional floor space that can be transformed into interior spaces. However, owing to the threefold combination of initial unfamiliarity of apartment buildings, underinvestment in the urban environment, and dire political circumstances, it is the balcony which has borne the brunt of the underdeveloped relationship between public and private life. In the context of this new housing type, the practice of enclosing balconies arose through the complicity of builders and users.
Key words: Balcony, Modernist Housing, Walkup Apartments, Taipei, Illegal Building.

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