The Old Office Building was formerly the Industrial Research Institute of the Taiwan Governor-General’s Office and is now a municipal historical monument. Built at the end of the Japanese colonial era, it features brick walls and a wooden roof. It is also equipped with a central electrical system and a telephone system, as well as a control room in the center.
This building was originally constructed to serve as a laboratory, with every detail meticulously designed. Shutters were installed on the doors of each room to allow for better ventilation. The upper windows were of transparent glass and the lower windows of frosted glass to allow light in, while providing a sense of privacy. As some of the experiments involved liquids, the walls were made from moisture-absorbing white ash. Protective measures were implemented to prevent moisture damage, such as baseboards that prevented liquid on the floor from splashing onto the walls when mopping.
To offset the shifting intensities and varying durations of natural light, windows were designed to open at 45 degree concave and convex angles, and artificial lighting was the main illumination source. The building’s facade is quite unique. Taking into consideration that toxic fumes may be produced during experiments, additional ventilation holes and fans were installed below the windows. From the outside, pipes of varying lengths are visible, with longer ones reaching the flat rooftop to drain water. Shorter pipes were used to remove wastewater from the laboratory on the second floor.
The Industrial Research Institute, which was established during World War II, was entrusted with two missions: to conduct production research on military supplies and to conduct investigations on the resources needed by the military. The first mission had a closer connection to Taiwan, as raw materials were sourced locally. For example, research was carried out to shorten the fermentation time of soy sauce or miso. The founder of Kong Yen rice vinegar, a popular condiment in Taiwan, acquired fermentation technology from the Industrial Research Institute.
After the Air Force took over, the first floor of the building became an office for high-ranking officers and the second floor became a space where war strategies were drafted and simulated. A loft was added to the simulation room. Before the advent of computers, military officers used aircraft models and a large-scale model of Taiwan to simulate attacks by Chinese Communist forces and methods of response by Chinese Nationalist forces. Soldiers operated the models below while officers observed and discussed with great intensity in the loft above. At such times, windows and doors were shut, to avoid leaking of confidential information.