The building is located on a street corner. The exterior consists of 13 stout columns positioned in close proximity. The columns, which incorporate design elements taken from classical Western columns as well as the traditional Taiwanese pavilion style, create a stunning visual impact and give an impression of prudence and trustworthiness. The generous pilasters and eaves, along with the unique column stigma, walls, cornices, and richly patterned parapet walls, are an excellent example of the hybrid architecture popular during the Showa period (1926-1989), typified by a combination of Japanese sensibilities with Western classical styles.
The parapet on the building’s exterior is decorated with a convex carving of two continuous and interwoven patterned squares. The carvings depict a floral rose pattern, alternating with a lion’s head design. These organic designs stand in stark contrast to the geometric shape of the column stigma.
Functional spaces, including a lobby and the original bank vault, constitute the building’s interior. The lobby on the first floor is a grand, impressive space that measures 40.3 meters by 18.9 meters and soars upward 10 meters. Behind the lobby, in the west wing of the building, sits the well-secured bank vault, as well as the air-conditioning unit. In the east wing are a security room, break room, restroom, storage, and other service-related spaces. The conference room, dining area, and kitchen are all located on the third floor.
The chevron-shaped, one-story-tall roof was constructed using lightweight steel. Precast concrete was laid atop the steel frame to create a solid room. The exterior wall is made from precast cement cladding that wraps around the RC columns, walls, and other primary structures. This type of construction differs from the way a curtain wall is constructed today.
An air-conditioning system, advanced for its time, had been installed in the lobby when the building was completed in 1933. Lighting, telephones, call bells, lightning rods, fire safety equipment, and gas pipes were also installed. Some elements of the original firefighting equipment and gas meters remain on-site, having been preserved intact.
After World War II, the National Government of the Republic of China took control of the five Kangyo Bank branches in Taiwan. The bank was officially renamed “Taiwan Land Bank” on September 1, 1946, and the Taipei branch was named the head office. The Land Bank inherited the assets and debts of Kangyo Bank, and has operated in the same spheres as its predecessor, financing agricultural development and real estate, for over six decades. Most importantly, the Land Bank has supported government policies on land reform, agricultural and industrial development, and urban planning, making an invaluable contribution to Taiwan’s postwar economy and infrastructure development.
The Land Bank International Business Building on Guanqian Road was completed in 1964. The majority of the bank’s operations moved to this new office building soon after. The original building on Xiangyang Road was turned into a research and filing facility. Having undergone several rounds of renovation, the interior space has changed significantly from its original look.
The building was designated by the Ministry of the Interior as a Level III Historic Site (now a “Taipei Municipal Historical Site”) on May 24, 1991. In 2005, the plan for the Taiwan Museum System was created for execution under the joint auspices of the Executive Yuan and the Council for Cultural Affairs. Subsequently, cooperation between the Taiwan Land Bank and the National Taiwan Museum put the maintenance and operations of the building under the administration of the NTM, which designated the building a natural history museum.
From its days as the Kangyo Bank and then the Land Bank, this solid, majestic building has witnessed 70 Years of development. The building’s transformation into a museum in 2010 rekindled the building’s past glory and made it a physical embodiment of the financial, economic, architectural, craft, and museum histories in Taiwan.