XiMen’s Red House is a famous site for a number of reasons, from its classical architecture to its history, to its support and fostering of creative culture. It is one of the most popular landmarks in Taipei and offers a lot to do and see. In addition to providing entertainment and housing one of the Riverside Live houses, it also provides a space for up-and-coming, independent designers to display and sell their wares.
Originally built in 1908 by Japanese architect Kondo Juro, Ximen’s Red House was one of Taiwan’s first public markets. Eventually it was to be re purposed as a theater and has been hosting performances since 1945. In 2007 the building was classified as a historical monument and given over to the Taipei Cultural Foundation to start extensive renovations. Now, in addition to regularly holding performances, Red House also made room for a cafe, an outdoor square for restaurants and bars, a indie clothing designer market, a live music hall (Riverside), and Red House also holds events outdoors.
Creative Boutique ( 16 工房 )
If you pass through the famous octagon building to the back, you will find a hall leading to specialty shops. The clothing designers here take a great deal of care when creating new styles of clothes. Besides clothing, you can also find original hats, accessories, postcards, and a myriad of other odds and ends.
Taipei Cinema Park
Although not directly connected to Red House, the Taipei Cinema Park is also ran by the Taipei Cultural Foundation, and is a short walk from the theater. Taipei Cinema Park is a large plaza with a large screen which shows free movies. You will often see people just hanging out, watching the movie, skating, playing, etc. It’s a nice outdoor place with a nice atmosphere. Check out more info here.
Besides performances and shopping, Red House also holds other design events, with vendors coming from all over Taiwan to show what they got. There are also presentations and clinics given on new design techniques, trends, and creative ideas to help fellow designers.
In the South square of the Red House, there is also an area with lots of good restaurants and bars. Now known as a trendy gathering spot for the LGBT community, there are many gay-friendly shops in the area. Whether straight or gay, the staff at the bars are usually very friendly and the service is great. Also, if you are out with friends, this may be a cheaper alternative than some of the more popular clubs and bars.
Red House is a fabulous center for culture, history, art and design. There are many things to see and do here and there is always something new taking place. Most of the events are free, and the bigger events are not that expensive either. If you are looking to see some of Taiwan’s modern culture, or just need something new to do, you should check out Red House.
For a listing of events, hop on over to the Red House website (Chinese Only).