Puli’s Paper Dome [紙教堂] traces its origins to the to the 6.8 magnitude earthquake which stuck Kobe, Japan in 1995 and took the lives of over 6,000 people. Architect Shigeru Ban decided to build a church made out of inexpensive, recycled materials when he saw worshipers holding services in the rubble of the Takatori Church. The church was transported to Puli’s Taomi Village [桃米村], which is near the epicenter of the 921 Earthquake of 1999 as a symbol of solidarity between Japan and Taiwan. This once poor village has since reinvented itself a popular eco-tourism destination and is an excellent example of conservation-based post-disaster recovery.
The church’s outer walls are weather-proof plastic doors which can be folded closed to prevent damage to the church’s interior from the elements.
The video at the front is a documentary about the Kobe earthquake and how the church was built.
Coupled with a visit to the Guangxing Paper Mill, a trip to this church is a great way to spend a paper-themed morning in Puli.
Here’s a map of the location. You’ll see signs to turn off for the Taomi Community [桃米社區] just after passing National Chi Nan University if driving south on Provincial HWY #21 if traveling from Provincial HWY#14 or Freeway 6. Alternatively, you’ll see it just before the university if traveling north on the 21 if driving from Sun Moon Lake.
If you don’t have your own transportation, you can take a bus to Puli and then a taxi which will run you about $200-250NT for the taxi on top of what you paid for the bus. I’ve read that local buses from Puli to Taomi are infrequent.
Admission is $50NT and can be used as a voucher at the area’s gift shop or restaurant.
A few more pictures can be found on my Puli Paper Church flickr set.
Sources and more information:
- The House the Quake Built [Taipei Times]
- Puli’s Paper Church [The Bradt Travel Guide]
- The Great Hanshin Earthquake [Wikipedia]