Plain Square | Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects | Architect of The Year Awards 2023

Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects: Winner of Architect of The Year Awards 2023. This is an urban renewal project for an old industrial area located on the outskirts of Taipei City. The design conception seeks to reinvigorate the essence of architecture by breaking away from excessive stylistic designs. Instead, it embraces the authenticity of architectural materials and proportions, and reflects the industrious spirit of Taiwan’s industrial culture. The project incorporates exposed concrete slabs with a harmonious and orderly exterior design, aiming for a terse and minimalist aesthetic to accentuate the enduring and sustainable value in architecture.


This project is situated in Neihu District, Taipei City. The goal of the design is to revitalize this industrial area by giving it a vision. Through employing a pragmatic approach of “design the emptiness,” it seeks to cater to the demands of emerging industries and embody our architectural concepts. The design aims to revive the inherent strength of the building, reject the pursuit of spectacular geometric patterns, and return to the beauty of architectural materiality and proportions. The result is a presentation of timeless quality that transcends specific time and space, ultimately revealing the essential nature of architecture.


Addressing the emerging trends in new industries, the design creates an innovative building that prioritizes human well-being. It features a square and spacious floor plan to adapt to the dynamic needs of future industries. 4.35M high ceiling ensures ample natural light, optimal space utilization and efficiency. High quality construction embodies a new office and factory building that upholds humane interests, and minimalist interior design encompasses “emptiness” for the needs of new industries. Regular square windows bring in a tranquil ambiance, and the use of wood, glass bricks, and warm lighting adds a touch of humanity.


The design features a terse and regular geometry with fair-faced concrete, expressing a rational architectural approach. It outlines both timeless and adaptable qualities. By using fair-faced concrete, this project demonstrates the essence of materials and resonates with Taiwan’s industrious character. The facade showcases a balanced arrangement of rectangular windows, symbolizing the changes of order and progress over time. Inside, the building offers an open and spacious environment, with square windows measuring 2.4M by 2.4M, creating a sense of stability.


The technique of fair-faced concrete emphasizes detailed and precise construction; it is our pursuit of rigorous standards in the new era. The simplicity is guided by our mentality. Internally, it offers versatile and flexible spaces for the possible needs of new businesses. Externally, it utilizes pure materials and rational forms, removing unnecessary design elements, while rejuvenating the urban landscape in the south-facing urban fabric. Additionally, it becomes a prominent landmark upon the entrance of the city from the north-facing highway, providing a vision for urban regeneration at various scales.


By rejecting excessive materials, the fair-faced concrete and pure geometric forms convey a timeless spirit. And by reducing interior decoration and minimizing material usage, the building’s lifespan will be extended. The landscape integrates the graceful profiles of trees into the sleek background of fair-faced concrete, creating welcoming open spaces that enhance the neighborhood’s public areas. From its interior to its exterior, the project strives to shape a fresh office building that combines practicality and innovation, revitalizing the old industrial area with a refreshed ambiance.

Project Details
Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects

Yi-Hsiang Chao

Project Name
Plain Square

Institutional Building Concept

Project Location

Chui-Jui Chiu, Yi-Hsiang Chao, Chieh-Ting Chien


Photography ©Credit
©Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects

Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects is founded by Yi-Hsiang Chao in 2011 in Taipei, Taiwan. Pursuing the transcendental, the studio values modest architecture and design. Engaging in projects at different scales, we want to create a delicate balance between thoughts, spirit, and techniques. The sphere where philosophic, conceptual, and essence intersect in architectural design is our direction of practice.


Yi-Hsiang Chao

Yi-Hsiang Chao was born in 1977 in Taipei, Taiwan. He obtained a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tunghai University in Taiwan and a Master of Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States. After he finished his thesis advised by Yung Ho Chang, Yi-Hsiang worked under Thomas Payette’s team for Aga Kah university in Payette Associates. He interned for Chi’s Workshop in Taipei and Howeler Yoon Architecture in Boston. Yi-Hsiang is an assistant professor in Tunghai University now and taught at National Cheng Kung University, National Chiao Tung University.

Chieh-Ting Chien

Chieh-Ting Chien obtained a Master of Architecture degree from National Chiao Tung University in 2015. She is a full-time architectural designer in Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects.

Tzu-Ling Huang

Tzu-Ling Huang obtained a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tunghai University in 2022. She is a part-time architectural designer in Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects.

Rih-Chen Yu

Rih-Chen Yu obtained a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tunghai University in 2023. He is a part-time architectural designer in Yi-Hsiang Chao Architects.

Former Participants

Chia-Yi Huang (M.Arch.I Pratt Institute)
Chao-Cheng Lin (Kyoto University)
Li-An Lai (M.Arch.I NCTU)
Yu-Chun Hsu (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
Pin-Ping Wang (B.Arch National Cheng Kung University)
Cheng-Yu Yang (M.Arch.I NCTU)
Ying Wang (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
Shen-Jui Lin (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
Heidi Wong (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
Andy Wang (M.Arch.I NCTU)
Tsu-Man Tseng (B.Arch. Tunghai University, MAA IAAC Spain)
Chen-Chi Lo (B.Arch. Tunghai University, MS KADK Denmark)
Chieh-Ting Chien (M.Arch.I NCTU)
Tzu-Chieh Hong (M.Arch.I NCTU)
Chin-Yuan Fan (M.Arch.I NCTU)
Yao-Ting Wu (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
I-Hsuan Wang (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
Chao-Hsun Lin (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
Andy Wen (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
Pai-Yu Liu (B.Arch. Tunghai University
Pei-Hsuang Wu (B.Arch. Tunghai University)
Ray Lee (B.Arch. National Cheng Kung University)