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Shu-Te University Students Rescued the Cross Building’s Roof Truss

Figure 1: "Students are dismantling the structure"

Led by their department head, Dr. Sheng-Mu Li and a faculty member, Dr. Yea-Der Wu, the students of Department of Architecture and Environmental Design successfully rescued the roof truss of the Cross Building in Weiwuying, the National Kaohsiung Performing Arts Center. The students temporary dismantled the hundred-old structure, brought it back to the school, and reassembled it to be a part of instructional materials for their department.

In recent years, Kaohsiung city government has strived to promote the National Performing Arts Center in Weiwuying. As a result, the 100-year old Cross Building faced the fate of being demolished, and its frame and structure are likely to be treated as waste materials. The staff in the center contacted Dr. Li, a specialist in historic reservation, and inquired about the possibilities of rescuing this structure. Upon Dr. Li’s approval, Dr. Wu led and guided around forty students to launch the project to save the 100-year old roof truss. This project provides a unique opportunity for students not only to gain first-hand learning experience, but also to understand the craft and wisdom of lumbermen in the past.

Figure 2: "The re-assembled roof truss and proud students"

The roof truss, made of Formosan cypress, bears historical significance in terms of its structure and building materials. Prior to taking apart the roof truss, Dr. Wu sought many related literature and materials. He then worked with students to develop the step-by-step plan to take the structure apart, such as itemizing, measuring, drawing, and photographing. It took less than a day to dismantle the roof truss and shipped it to school. However, it took more than two days for the team to re-assemble it. After many trials and errors, the Roof Truss of Cross Building re-appeared in Shu-Te University. Dr. Wu told students that destruction is far easier than construction. He hopes that all students involved this project will value the experience and dedicate themselves to the conservation and protection of cultural heritage in Taiwan.