Buildings in Taiwan

I was just wondering, why do a lot of buildings in Taiwan (at least in Taipei) have tile exteriors? The only reason I can figure is it has something to do with the climate. Or, is it just a style that caught on?


My husband reckons its to make the buildings cooler in summer. But then, it could just be because it looks so damn good…

I really have no clue, but my theory is that it has something to do with the humidity; they won’t mould or rot or get infestations on the outside like natural materials (wood) or porous materials (unfinished brick) might. I think it also helps keep it cooler in summer, though I have no evidence to back this up except for how nice and cool floor tiles feel right about now… Also, the huge cockroaches will have to try harder to get in (via drains, etc. I thank my lucky stars every day for the privilege of living in a tenth-floor, roach free haven). How high up do the darn things crawl, anyway?

Or maybe they’re just trying to build the world’s biggest bathroom; in many areas the smell is certainly up to standard.

It seems that whatever the building materials, though, the buildings look kitschy and “old” within a year or two, if not immediately after building. (The corrugated steel ad-ons don’t add to aesthetic appeal, either, but if they like it…)
And what is with this virtually unwashable matte paint on the inner walls?

Thank my lucky stars every day for the privilege of living in a tenth-floor, roach free haven

Hah, that’s what I thought - and I am staying in the 13th Floor. I flushed a huge one down the kitchen sink and the bugger came back after 2 days - flushed it down again and it returned once more. Then I smashed it flat and now it’s finally gone. Puh.
(In case you wonder how I recognized it: one of the whiskers was broken, so it was easy to see.)

That said I think they, and mosquitos alike, become more intelligent - perhaps using the lift to reach those levels …

I say for maintainability purposes and also because of different construction practices. Tile lasts much longer than paint and it’s not very easy to paint on brick or reinforced concrete.

It’s certain there wasn’t any aesthetic reason for going with the tile. And I challenge the notion that tile is less susceptible to mold and mildew than other materials. Have you ever cleaned a bathroom in your life?!? Apparently not. My guess is it has more to do with saving money than anything else. That seems to be the common cause for most hair-brained ideas in Taiwan. All I can say is that it makes the buildings look like SHIT, and the tiles, badly plastered to their surface, have a tendency to fall off. No wonder the walkways are all covered. And you thought it was just to keep you cool.

I can hardly see the association between the exterior of a building and the inside of a bathroom… Anyway, using those tiles definitely DOES NOT save money initially. It saves money in the long run because you don’t have to keep repainting. I do have to agree with you that a lot of Taiwanese ideas are hare-brained, though.

“It seems that whatever the building materials, though, the buildings look kitschy and “old” within a year or two, if not immediately after building”

This is due to pollution in Taiwan, which produces acid rain, for that reason, carrying umbrella outdoor is recommended so you don’t go bald. Plus high humidity.

In southern Taiwan, especially Pintung, you won’t see buildings age that quickly due to much better air quality.

Tiles are less susceptible to mold and mildew. Picture bricks and wood being used instead, which are porous. Among the three, you don’t think tiles would have less mold?

Pingdong and other Southern Taiwan areas seem to consistantly have the worst pollution readings on the island. But they also have less rain, which might have something to do with it. Taichung, according to my experience, seems to have the least precipitation of all the major cities.

Why use tile? It doesn’t peel like paint, and smaller tile didn’t crack as easily. I think it is easier to deal with mold on tile than on brick. Why do you think most bathrooms use tile instead of brick or concrete in the shower? White and other lighter colors such as yellow and pink don’t absorb as much heat. Brick surfacing is coming back, though. Look at the newer, nicer apartment buildings; many of them have a brick-like surface rather than tile. Retro trends might have something to do with this, as well as newer surfacing techniques.