The Grass Mountain Royal Guest House (草山御賓館) in Taipei City has been a designated historic site for 19 years, but during this time, it has gradually fallen into disrepair. To address this, the Ministry of Culture launched a study into the site's condition earlier this year, and took the first step toward restoring it back to usability on June 3.
The Ministry has secured a NT$9.56-million subsidy for the Taiwan Provincial Government for the full value of the project, which will be put to use to usher the site back to its former glory as a cultural landmark in Taipei's Yangmingshan area.
The Grass Mountain Royal Guest House sits next to the Yangmingshan Chungshan Hall and was built in 1923 to accommodate Prince Hirohito (who would go on to reign as Emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989) during his visit to Taiwan that year.
Between 1954 and 1986, the Guest House was the residence of the family of Sun Fo (孫科), son of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and former president of the Examination Yuan. The Guest House was witness to the transition from Japanese rule to the postwar arrival of the Nationalist government, and Yangmingshan was central to the political changes that took place.
Along the way, three additions were made to the site — a Japanese home and a Western hall during the Japanese period, and a Western home designed by the late architect Wang Da-hong (王大閎) after the war. These each reflected changes in the mainstream of Taiwan's architecture and craftsmanship over the years.
On July 22, 1987, Taipei City named the Grass Mountain Royal Guest House a municipal historic site. However, it remained under the administration of the Taiwan Provincial Government, which was unable to continue maintaining it after its 1998 streamlining.
With the Provincial Government set to have its entire operating budget and tasks subsumed into the Executive Yuan by 2019, the Ministry of Culture made the obtaining of funds for repairs to the site an emergency priority so as to prevent the structural damage from spreading.
Equipped with this funding, the Provincial Government is now embarking on the first step toward restoring the Grass Mountain Royal Guest House to usability with support from the Ministry of Culture and the Taipei City Government.