Home > Architecture > Ten Attractions
:::
Exterior walls
The Central Building resembles a squared-off figure “8” with a central axis that divides the structure into symmetric halves. Within the central axis, the lower level is occupied by the Assembly Hall, while the upper level has a grand conference room that rises two-and-a-half stories tall.

Outside, the base of all exterior walls is made of sturdy, beige granite brought in from Japan. The remaining wall surface is paved with brown ceramic tiles, dubbed “defense color tiles” for their camouflage protection against air raids during World War II.
Water faucets
In the 1940s, few roads in Taipei were paved, and people walking through dusty streets often needed a place to wash up before going indoors. The Central Building offered water faucets at the north entrance to allow visitors to rinse their hands and freshen up before conducting official business. The same thoughtful design can be seen at the original building of the National Taiwan University Hospital.
Terrazzo interior walls
The terrazzo technique found in the Central Building was popular among Japanese colonial architecture. The interior walls are covered with terrazzo polished in two different colors, forming decorative horizontal bands.

The exquisite craftsmanship itself is worth looking at: Hanshui and Qili stone from Yilan are first precast into terrazzo tiles then mounted on the walls. The edges match up so precisely that not even a needle can pass through. Even more impressive is that the walls still retain that quality condition today.
Council Hall
At the heart of the Executive Yuan building is the Council Hall, a grand conference room with an imposing high ceiling. The hall has been renovated several times to meet evolving needs, and much of the original appearance has been altered.
Assembly Hall
The Central Building features unique spatial layouts. Unlike most rectangular buildings of the time, the Central Building has stairways situated not at the four corners but at the midpoints of its four sides. The stairways are also built with steel-reinforced concrete for greater seismic resistance.

Above the Assembly Hall, the ceiling is lined with long steel trusses—the most advanced structures of the time. Restrooms are also located not at the ends but at the middle of the corridors for easy access.

Another distinctive feature is the basement, which was rare among government buildings constructed before 1930. The partial basement was built as an air-raid shelter after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, which sparked the Second Sino-Japanese War.
East courtyard
The building’s entrances face north and south while the squared-off “8” layout forms two courtyard on the east and west. Both courtyards have arched entryways for vehicles to pass through. In recent years, the courtyards have been remodeled into small gardens with fish ponds and beautiful plants including Taiwan date palms, Madagascar almonds and golden dewdrops.
Sash windows
The original wood-frame windows in the corridors are still in use. Made from cypress wood, the double-hung sash windows are rarely seen in Taiwan today. Sash chains on both sides of the windows run over a pulley to a counterweight that keeps the top and bottom windows in place and prevents them from sliding down the tracks. This clever design shows the ingenuity of the builders.
Entrance lobby
In the 1930s, the art deco style swept the design world with its emphasis on decorative art. In those days, many design themes were characterized by bold geometric shapes and patterns. The diamond grid is one such concept advocated by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

In the Central Building entrance lobby, the door panels show the diagonal lines and diamond patterns favored by art deco stylists. At the grand stairway, the handrails are simple and unadorned, another popular style from the late 1930s. The walls were covered with granite panels during recent remodeling.

All transom windows above the doors are fitted with diamond grills. This same theme has been designed into the building’s front and rear doors to create a consistent and coordinated feel.

Door panels
The diamond motif used throughout the building can be seen on the door panels of the premier’s office. The elegant diamond carvings lend an air of classical architecture.
Reception Room
The premier often receives guests and foreign dignitaries in the Reception Room located on the first floor of the east wing. Inside the room, 25 seats are arranged along the four walls. The premier is seated in the host’s seat by the main wall. To his right sits the chief guest, followed by other visiting guests in order of importance. To the premier’s left are the accompanying guests, also in order of importance.
Front facade
Front facade
The Central Building was built from 1937 to 1940 by the Japanese colonial government. Its style differs from the late-Renaissance style seen in the Control Yuan building (1915, originally Taipei Prefecture Hall), Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Monopoly Bureau building (1922, originally Taiwan Provincial Monopoly Bureau building), Office of the President (1919, originally Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan), and the original building of National Taiwan University Hospital (1916).

Rather than a triangular pediment, a round dome or a tall steeple, the building is topped with a flat roof. This shows a strong influence from the modernist movement that was popular during the peak of Japanese expansion when the structure was constructed (1937). The exterior puts a strong emphasis on clean blocks and horizontal lines, the same style used for Taipei Zhongshan Hall (1936, originally Taipei City Public Auditorium).

Though the Central Building has the appearance of a three-story structure, it actually has four stories rising 16.5 meters total. According to construction records, the floor space of the first to fourth floors measure 3,709 square meters, 3,461 square meters, 3,200 square meters and 774 square meters, respectively. It was constructed from 1937 to 1940 originally to accommodate the Taipei Municipal Office. Well preserved and still in use, this is a fine example of a government building from the Japanese colonial period.