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Taipei Post Office

  • Date:2023-12-05
Taipei Post Office in 2022

Chinese Name: 臺北郵局

Address: No. 11, Zhongxiao E. Rd. Sec. 1, Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City

Built: 1930

Did You Know?

In 1888, during the Qing Dynasty's rule over Taiwan, the then-governor Liu Ming-chuan (劉銘傳) established the Taiwan Postal General Bureau in Taipei City and launched Taiwan Post, which began issuing stamps, planning postal routes, and handling mail. This means that Taiwan Post was in fact established eight years earlier than the Great Qing Postal Bureau. After Taiwan came under Japanese rule in 1895, it transitioned into a part of the Japanese Empire’s postal system.

The Taipei Post Office was built in 1898 as a two-story wooden building in a Japanese style. It was destroyed by a fire in February 1913 and a temporary building was constructed on the same site in November of the same year. In 1928, Japanese architect Shunichi Kuriyama (栗山俊一) was commissioned to design a new post office, and two years later, the three-story reinforced concrete building of the Taipei Post and Telegraph Office was completed in 1930, covering an area of over 13,000 square meters, making it the largest post office in Taiwan at that time.

That time was a budding period for modern architecture, so the Taipei Post Office adopted a compromise style, still influenced by classical elements in the details. For example, there were decorative motifs on the facade, classical column heads on the walls, and the ceiling of the main hall was adorned with moldings. The porte-cochère on the ground floor had five semi-circular arched columns, extending beyond the main building, which was quite grand. This largest post office in Taiwan at the time used a steel frame structure, and the exterior walls of the building were covered with pebbles and light brown "air defense color" ceramic tiles produced by the Beitou kiln, reflecting the characteristics of the era.

In the 1960s, the authorities claimed that the Taipei Post Office was too busy and lacked space, so they added a fourth floor to the existing three-story building and demolished the front five-arched portico to facilitate postal vehicles entering and exiting for mail collection. Although the original gable was preserved, the demolished porch was replaced with a flat gray-green marble veneer, which looked inconsistent with the original Japanese Western-style architecture.

Since the 1970s, the postal department has been planning to demolish this building. However, due to its rich historical value, the demolition of the building has faced strong opposition from Taiwanese scholars and some members of the public. On August 14, 1992, the Ministry of the Interior designated the Taipei Post Office as a national Grade 3 historic site (now a historic site designated by Taipei City), ending the controversy over its preservation. Since the 2000s, the unit responsible for managing the building has changed its attitude and actively carried out renovations and maintenance to preserve the original appearance of the Taipei Post Office.

Since its construction in 1930, the building has become old and worn. In the 1990s, the exterior walls began to show signs of damage and cracking, the roof trusses were corroded, and serious leaks occurred. The mud sculptures, pebbles, and facing bricks on the gables also gradually fell off. In 2010, Chunghwa Post decided to fully renovate and restore the building, hoping to maintain the original architectural style and respect the historical value of the historic site. By the end of 2014, the restored historic site once again showcased its splendor, becoming a landmark building for Chunghwa Post nationwide and adding brilliance to the cityscape of Taipei. In 2019, Chunghwa Post announced the restoration of the main portico of the Taipei Post Office, restoring all five arches by the end of the year, allowing this designated historic site in Taipei to regain its original appearance.

Today, the restored Taipei Post Office building is occupied by multiple institutions. The first and second floors are the branches of Chunghwa Post (中華郵政), including the Taipei Beimen Post Office (臺北北門郵局). In addition, part of the building is used by the Taipei Beimen Campus of National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (陽明交通大學), including the College of Management’s Institute of Business Administration and the master's and doctoral programs in Transportation and Logistics Management. The Beimen Branch of the Postal Museum is also located in this building, with stamp-related exhibitions open to the public.

(Photo credit: Taipei City Government)