||After World War Two, following the collapse of the Japanese Empire and the rise of the communist ideology, East Asia underwent a dramatic transformation in terms of political geography. Unwillingly, Taiwan was involved in the power struggles between China and Japan, between the Chinese Communists and the KMT government, and between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Allies handed over Taiwan to the KMT government in 1945 as the reward for China’s sacrifice during the war against Japan. Soon in 1949, the Chinese Communists expelled the KMT government from Mainland China, and Taiwan became the last and only territory over which the KMT government still had control. In these circumstances, the KMT government needed to re-establish its Chinese national identity in order to secure its sovereignty over Taiwan.
The strategy of constructing Chinese national identity in postwar Taiwan was to build a modern Chinese identity based on Chinese cultural traditions. The KMT government propagandized a constructed heritage of Chinese cultural orthodoxy to legitimate its representative status and political authority. As a result, the construction of national identity in postwar Taiwan was like building a home away from home. For people in Taiwan, both the local Taiwanese and the Chinese immigrants from mainland after 1945, the homeland in the nationalist discourses was never “here” in Taiwan but “there” in Mainland China. The Chinese national identity was not rooted in the land where people lived but was instead built on a cultural imagination, a place which could not be stepped upon.
The adoption of Chinese imperial architectural traditions in Taiwan was therefore aimed to fulfil this nostalgia. It dominated architects' minds in searching for a new Chinese modern architecture, and most official commissions ended up simply with a mixture of different traditional imperial architectural roof types. While the Chinese imperial architectural languages might satisfy the KMT government's nostalgia and maybe even some westerners' sense of orientalism, they did not fit in very well with modern society. Although the KMT government aimed to propagandize its Chinese cultural orthodoxy through daily architectural environment, such as cultural institutions, funeral parlor, hospitals, college buildings, state ritual shrines, religious organizations and so on, the architectural formalist approach for Chinese modern architecture supported by the KMT government could only gradually retreat behind the scenes under the tide and influence of American architectural modernism and capitalism, and became a page of history of searching national identity and architectural autonomy in postwar Taiwan.