dutch architecture practice mecanoo has completed a sweeping building in taiwan that forms the world’s largest performing arts center under one roof. set to open in october 2018, the ‘national kaohsiung center for the arts,’ (also known as ‘weiwuying’), incorporates five performance spaces, covering a surface area of 35 acres (141,000 sqm) and is set in a 116-acre (470,000 sqm) subtropical park.

 

the project is located in kaohsiung, a port city in the south of taiwan with a population of around 3 million. the vast development occupies a site that was formerly a military training base, and, with a mission to connect local and global talent through arts and culture, symbolizes a new outlook for both the city and the country as a whole.

mecanoo taiwan national kaohsiung center
the scheme is the world’s largest performing arts center under one roof
image © iwan baan

 

 

dubbed taiwan’s most significant cultural investment in a generation, the new center incorporates: a 2,260 seat opera house; a 2,000 seat concert hall equipped with a 9,085 pipe organ built by orgelbau klais; a flexible playhouse, with seating between 1,094 and 1,254, suitable for theater, dance, and chinese opera; a 470 seat recital hall for chamber music and solo recitals; and an outdoor performance space that links the building with the park, and open to audiences of up to 20,000.

mecanoo taiwan national kaohsiung center
the project incorporates five performance spaces
image © iwan baan

 

 

‘weiwuying is one of mecanoo’s most ambitious buildings and embodies all the key elements of our philosophy,’ says francine houben, founding architect of mecanoo. ‘inspired by the beauty of the local banyan trees with their iconic canopies of leaves, the vast, undulating structure is composed of a unique skin and roof under which generous free spaces can flow. we have aimed to deliver a flagship cultural destination for taiwan, a beacon to attract performers and audiences from around the world.’

mecanoo taiwan national kaohsiung center
the performing arts center will open in october 2018
image © iwan baan

 

 

the executive and artistic director chien wen-pin, current kapellmeister of deutsche oper am rhein and former music director of taiwan philharmonic, adds: ‘weiwuying is one of the most beautiful, iconic and best-equipped performing arts centers in the world. the creative industries are extraordinarily lively in taiwan. once our doors are officially open, the center will become an exciting springboard from which talent can soar.’

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