Four images related to Taiwan -“Sailing”, “Sandbanks”, “Cloud Wall”, and “Integration” - are the central themes behind the design of the Museum. The pond in the front of the Museum symbolizes the Taiwan Strait, formerly known as the Black Ditch, where shipwrecks were often the only welcome awaiting early immigrants. The Water Stage on the Grand Plaza captures the surprise and excitement when sailors first saw the sandbank, like the humpback of a whale, on Taiwan's southwest coast. The Cloud Wall that greets every Museum visitor reflects the magnificent sky and signifies a bright future full of hope. The Exhibition and Education Building and Administration and Collection Building in the Park exhibit a fusion of a Han-style red-brick siheyuan and indigenous-style stilt and stone slab architecture. The spatial design also harmonizes with the natural environment, achieving a symbiotic embrace of architecture and nature.
- The Water StageThe design concept is derived from the image of “Sandbanks”. The island-like public art, as if floating between the sky and the sea, captures visitors imagination and enables visitors to experience Taiwan's diverse and rich landscapes once they enter the Museum. “Sandbanks” refers to a series of sand hills outside the original west coast of Taiwan formed by lagoons. Early immigrants crossing the Black Ditch to Taiwan named them "Kunshen" according to their first impression of the island of Taiwan.
- The Cloud WallThe Cloud Wall was erected through the sponsorship of the Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs. It is not only one of Taiwan's classic photovoltaic generators but also an eyecatching, iconic image of the Museum. The Cloud Wall is made up of 1,755 panels, including 1,350 solar panels and 405 pieces of stamped glass, spelling out "National Museum of Taiwan History." The Cloud Wall not only symbolizes our forebears crossing the seas, but is also an eco-friendly facility that generates power for the Museum.
- Administration and Collection BuildingThe exterior of the Administration and Collection Building combines stonewalls with the columns of indigenous stilt houses. An impression of "emptiness" is created with steel and large French windows in the administration office while an impression of "fullness" is generated by the solid stone design of the archives room. The tension between emptiness and fullness generated by these different media creates a dialogue between the two spaces. Moreover, the interplay of light and shadow among the window frames brings the structures to life. It is the first time a building project in Taiwan has combined a load-bearing wall, reinforced steel columns and precast and three-way prestressed structures.
- The Exhibition and Education BuildingThe architecture of the Exhibition and Education Building draws on the concept of the traditional red-brick siheyuan with a base that combines the columns of indigenous stilt housing. High atrium space is created above the second floor to create a sense of expanse. Further spaces connected with the exterior are reserved on each floor to accentuate a harmonious dialogue between architecture and nature. The Exhibition and Education Building is designed with a precast and three-way prestressed structure, constructed and assembled by floors and walls formed by architectural concrete. It marks a huge breakthrough in the construction technology of Taiwanese museums.