Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung, Taiwan by Mecanoo Architecten
July 20th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Mecanoo Architecten
The Wei-Wu-Ying Metropolitan Park, the site of a former military complex, is the location for the new Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts of Taiwan. The complex features a concert hall, an opera house, a theatre, a recital hall, and a large outdoor seating area. Hosting a total of 6,000 seats and the most technologically advanced theatre facilities, the new cultural complex will draw world class performing artists and theatre companies.
The Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts will become the new icon of the city of Kaohsiung, the largest harbour city of Taiwan and one of the largest harbour cities in the world with 1.5 million inhabitants. By building the Center for the Arts, the city will symbolize its evolution from a harbour city to a modern cultural city. The high-speed train between Taipei and Kaohsiung was completed recently and the new city metro system is slated for completion within two years. The surrounding 65 hectare park is an integral part of the design brief. Francine Houben, director of Mecanoo architecten, presented the winning competition design to an international jury of architects, theatre specialists and impresarios. Mecanoo’s design was unanimously selected because of the building’s strength in expression, the integration of the complex with the park, efficient logistical planning, advanced theatre design and facility techniques and the building design’s response to the subtropical climate of the city of Kaohsiung.
An important source of inspiration for Mecanoo’s building design were the existing centuries-old banyan trees on location. The banyan tree is one of the world’s largest trees. The crown of the Banyan tree can grow so wide that according to legend, Alexander the Great took shelter underneath it with his entire army. Mecanoo’s building complex is 225 metres wide and 160 metres deep. Because of the openings in the roof, the passageways and open spaces, an almost porous building is created in which interior and exterior blur. The partially grass and plant covered roof creates natural and efficient building cooling in the subtropical climate. The large roof also provides an informal public space where the city residents can stroll, practice Tai Chi, mediate or just relax. Inspired by ancient Greek theatre, outdoor seating space was designed on the roof complex at the point where the roof dips to the ground. The surrounding park in turn becomes an informal stage.
Mecanoo designed the surrounding park with light slopes, valleys and water pools creating intimate public spaces varying in size, scale and proportion. Meandering paths lead to a botanical garden, a bamboo grove, a playground, a tea pavilion and a butterfly garden. The park design is a logical continuation of the theater complex with its public open spaces and roofscape. Building and landscape merge naturally, forming a unified whole.
Programme: Theatre complex of 141,000 m2 in the Wei-Wu-Ying Metropolitan Park with a total capacity of 6,000 seats: Concert Hall 2,000 seats, Opera House 2,250 seats, Playhouse 1,250 seats, Recital Hall 500 seats, public library of 800 m2, 1,000 m2 of rehearsal/education halls for music and dance, 2 conference halls with 100 and 200 seats and stage building workshops
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