While I am still quite behind in my cosplay shoot posting (though catching up in terms of post-processing), I thought I’d dig back into my archives for some photos I hadn’t posted before – in my final trip to Taiwan, I extended my stay and did a bit of urban exploration.
Using my normal location discovery methods, I found out the exact location on Google Maps, with Street View confirming my suspicions. I then did intense research and planning in regards to the actual logistics of getting there: turns out that using public transport, it’s something like a 20 minute train ride out from Taipei, and then one bus gets to somewhere nearby, walk down the road, and it’s right there.
What the Green Mansion (as it is known on the Internet) actually is, I am uncertain. It consists of two main structures, one whose remnants lead me to suspect it is an office building, and a second building, which is what gives the location its “mansion” suffix, but which I highly suspect is a mix of a private residence and a production studio.
The first building is of limited interest: it has a fairly standard layout throughout the floors, although the rooftop floor is pretty demolished/unstable. I even found stalagmites forming from water seeping through the ceiling of one of the levels.
The buildings have been abandoned for years, and at some point, it has been used by stragglers as accommodation. They have also been torn apart pretty thoroughly, although the Romanesque decor is still evident.
The back of the “mansion” structure has a kind of garden/pavilion, and enough space for a fleet of cars. What is clear is that the Green Mansion was used to accommodate quite a lot of people when it was in use.
Throughout many of the floors, and especially on the ground floor, it is evident that nature is slowly reclaiming the site. Moss, grass and ferns have steadily made their way into the building, and the floor has decayed into nothing.
The first floor is dominated by many halls, with wooden flooring, ornate columns and ceiling decorations, as well as large windows with heavy fabric curtains – or what’s left of them.
Here is one of the fallen decorative columns which used to lend elegance to the halls.
Another hall, with a massive round table. With the majority of the windows broken by vandals over the years, the weather is taking its toll on the inside.
This is the entrance hallway. What is known at this point is that this location was one of the locations used to shoot the Taiwanese live drama version of “Hana Yori Dango” (re-titled Meteor Garden) circa 2000. It was primarily used as the house of the rich Domyoji character: compare it with a screenshot of the show below.
The story is that even though the drama series was a hit in Asia, it was filmed on a budget, with the flashy cars borrowed from friends and even the lavish location was borrowed from a songwriter, singer and director called Liu Chia-chang (also known as Steven Lau Ga-Cheong). After the conclusion of filming, he apparently just left it.
Since then, it has become pretty well-known in the Taiwanese urban exploration community. It has been used for various things, including BB gun battles, photoshoots (obviously) and even had an MTV filmed there.
Above: the lyrics of a song written on one of the walls, used as a location for a music video.
The actual area of the mansion structure is massive, and there are multiple floors. The second floor is dominated by a lot of rooms, presumably for guests or for actors. They’re all trashed.
But on the same floor, there are other halls and kitchens, with ornate staircases.
This is perhaps my favourite area: it’s still pretty trashed, but retains a lot of the original elegance and the big elevated windows give a lot of nice natural light.
But go beyond the second or third floor, and the location changes and becomes much more utilitarian. You get two or three big halls with high ceilings, which could have been used as filming studios or as sports halls.
Some photographer’s cue sheets on the ground of one of the rooms running along the side of the halls:
Another massive hall, with half the floor decayed and plants everywhere.
Interestingly, the higher one goes, the more decayed the whole place is, probably because of moisture coming in from the roof. One of the levels has a structure like an open-plan office.
Note that I was at this location by myself on a sweltering summer afternoon. Despite being daytime, it was still pretty creepy. The wind could cause various noises and the number of mirrors around the place meant that there were many opportunities to make me jump. When I’m on urban explorations, my level of alertness is at maximum, so I have an enhanced reaction to movements, meaning mirrors are a bad idea.
Top level is a kind of pent-house level, which is a bit of a weird contrast compared to the utilitarian stuff downstairs.
There is a corridor leading out to the roof top but it didn’t seem very interesting.
The stairs at the centre of the house are still useable, but in really bad condition. There are concrete fire-escape like stairs which are in better condition and not so vertigo-inducing.
Overall, this haikyo is perhaps the biggest one I’ve explored in a long time. There was another location I’ve been to in Australia which is bigger, but I didn’t explore the insides of it, nor to the degree of detail I did here. To be honest, after the first two floors of the mansion structure, I was already wondering to myself how much more there could be, and it turned out to be a lot more than I bargained for!
Taiwan, on the whole, is full of strange and wonderful structures which have been just left there to rot. I look at some of the stuff out there, and the possibilities are endless. Taiwanese photographers and cosplayers are fortunate indeed!