Xinsheng Viaduct’s Chip Gate, Taipei

The chip-covered portal under Xinsheng highway

photography by: Omri Westmark

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Often dubbed the chip-capital of the world, Taiwan currently accounts for nearly half of the semiconductor industry’s total output, making it a crucial member of the global economy. As integrated circuits become ever more advanced, the old computer chips are rapidly rendered obsolete. What would otherwise be a hazardous waste turned into an urban curiosity, when hundreds of disused motherboards were integrated into an entrance gate under a busy highway in central Taipei.

In a densely-packed city like the Taiwanese capital, every square inch of space is deemed valuable. To better utilized this limited resource, the city council’s department of sports initiated the transformation of several dreary underpasses beneath expressways into a series of bustling skateboard parks, where dedicated skaters often gather to hone their skills.

 

Among the newly built parks is a narrow sliver of asphalt underneath the Xinsheng elevated road, right in front of Huashan 1914 Creative Park. Across this recreational spot one can find multiple ramps with varying levels of difficulty, hip murals dotting the massive concrete piers and peculiarly, hanging pairs of shoes thrown by skate aficionados as a token for their toil.

 

Nevertheless, what truly sets this skatepark apart from its citywide counterparts is a quirky portal, fashioned from zillions of defunct computer chips. Greeting passers-by and skaters alike, the gate features copious mainboards, salvaged from computers and other electronic appliances throughout Taipei to form a rather bizarre monument and recycling project, both at once.