Largest Performing Arts Center in Asia by Mecanoo Breaks Ground

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Wednesday 7 April 2010, Mecanoo’s Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts has broken ground in Kaohsiung with a festive public celebration hosted by President Ma Ying-jeou and attended by Architect Francine Houben.  The new cultural complex will be the largest in Asia at 141,000 sqm, featuring the most modern in theatre technology, housing a concert hall with 2000 seats, an opera house with 2250 seats, a playhouse with 1250 seats, a recital hall with 500 seats, a public library and studios for music and dance.

The Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts sits in the northeast corner of the metropolitan park, which functions as a great green lung for Kaohsiung. The center is not only the first performing arts facility in southern Taiwan, but also the largest investment in culture and the arts made by the Taiwanese government in the last two decades. The center promises to be the new icon for the 2.7 million residents of Kaohsiung and marks the transition from a port city to a modern, cultural metropolis.

Francine Houben, founding architect and creative director of Mecanoo, based her design on Dutch architectural concepts which involves the seamless integration with the surrounding landscape. Inspired by the lush banyan trees in Wei-Wu-Ying Park, she created the organic and libe
ral theme for the Center’s design. The tree trunks, aerial routes and shade create a space dotted with openings which allow fresh air to flow.  Through the integration of the open space, the green belt and the vast area itself, the Center and the Park become one.

The great roof provides shade and protection from Taiwan’s tropical climate and forms an informal public space where city residents can stroll, practice Tai Chi, meditate or just relax. Inspired by ancient Greek theatre, an outdoor seating area on the roof was created, just at the point where the roof dips to the ground. The surrounding park in turn becomes an informal stage. The park features light slopes, valleys and water pools creating intimate public spaces.

Programme: Theatre complex of 141,000 sqm 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 sqm, 1,000 sqm of rehearsal/education halls for music and dance and stage building workshops

Design: 2007-09 execution: 2010-13

Client: Preparatory Office of The Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts of the Council for Cultural Affairs, Taiwan
Architect: Mecanoo architecten, Delft, The Netherlands
Local architect: Archasia Design Group, Taipei, Taiwan
Structural engineer: Supertech, Taipei, Taiwan
Mechanical engineer: Yuan Tai, Taipei, Taiwan
Electrical engineer: Heng Kai, Taipei, Taiwan
Acoustic consultant: Xu Acoustique, Paris, France
Theatre consultant: Theateradvies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Yi Tai, Taipei, Taiwan
Lighting consultant: CWI lighting, Taipei, Taiwan
Organ consultant: Oliver Latry, Paris, France
3D advisor: Lead Dao, Taipei, Taiwan
Awards: Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award, International Design Award 2009, Cityscape Architectural Award 2008
Mecanoo architecten was founded in Delft in 1984, employing over 90 professionals in the fields of architecture, interior design, urban planning, landscape architecture and architectural engineering.  The award winning practice is directed by its original founding architect/director Francine M.J. Houben. With projects all over the world, Mecanoo has a diverse range of project types including libraries, theatres, museums, urban plans, residential neighbourhoods, private villas, high rise, university and academic buildings, office buildings and even a chapel.
Previously:

Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Performing Arts in Kaohsiung
The design for the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Performing Arts was inspired by the Banyan trees on site in the Wei-Wu-Ying Metropolitan Park. It will include a concert hall and an opera house and has a total capacity of 6,150 seats: a 2,000 seat Concert Hall, 2300-seat Lyric theatre, a 1250-seat Playhouse, a 450-seat Recital Hall and an open air theatre for thousands of visitors. Construction is planned this year with the theatre complex opening its doors in 2013.
Chicago Athenaeum Award for Wei-Wu-Ying Center

15 Sep 2009
Mecanoo awarded two Chicago Athenaeum prizes
Mecanoo’s Fifty Two Degrees and Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Performing Arts have been awarded the prestigious International Architecture Award 2009 by the Chicago Athenaeum Europe.
Taiwan National Performing Arts Centre
, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
2009-12
Mecanoo architecten

12 Feb 2009:
International Design Awards

Mecanoo’s design for the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Performing Arts in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (below) received 3rd place in the urban planning category.
Cityscape Architectural Award 2008

National Kaohsiung Performance Arts Center, Taiwan
The complex features a concert hall, an opera house, a theatre, a black box, and an open air theatre. Hosting a total of 5,800 seats and the most technologically advanced theatre facilities, the new cultural complex will draw world class performing artists and theatre companies. The National Performing Arts Center will become the new icon of the city of Kaohsiung.
Theatre complex of 100,000 m2 with a concert hall of 2,300 seats, an opera house with 2,000 seats, a theatre hall with 1000 seats, an experimental Black Box with 500 seats, an open-air theatre, and landscape design of the 65 ha. Wei-Wu-Ying Metropolitan Park
Design: 2007-09
Execution: 2009-12
Architecture competition winners
concert hall, opera house, theatres
National Performing Arts Center, Kaohsiung – text from Mecanoo architecten

Mecanoo architecten wins Taiwan’s most prestigious project

Friday March 23rd the Governor of Kaohsiung announced that Mecanoo architecten has won the design competition for the new National Performing Arts Center in Kaohsiung. At 100,000 m2 the National Performing Arts Centre is to become the largest theatre complex in Taiwan. The theatre complex will be located in the Wei-Wu-Ying Metropolitan Park and features a concert hall, an opera house, a theatre, a black box with a total of 5,800 seats and an open-air theatre suitable for thousands of visitors. The surrounding 65 ha park is 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. The building costs for the theatre complex are € 200 million, the budget of the park is not yet known. Building construction will start at the beginning of 2009, in 2012 it will be completed.
The National Performing Arts Center 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 Performing Arts Center, the city will symbolize its evolution from a harbour city to a modern cultural city. 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 200 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 old Greek theatre, an open-air theatre was designed on the roof complex at the point where the roof dips to the ground. The surrounding park in turn becomes a stage.

Zaha Hadid from London won second prize. Kiyoshi Sey Takeyama Amorphe from Tokyo, Japan became third. In total 43 international architects entered the competition.
Programme: Theatre complex of 100,000 m2 with a concert hall of 2,300 seats, an opera house with 2,000 seats, a theatre hall with 1000 seats, an experimental Black Box with 500 seats, an open-air theatre and park design for 65 ha. Design: 2007. Client: Council for Cultural Affairs, Taiwan. Architect: Mecanoo architecten, Delft. Acoustic advisor: Xu Acoustique, Paris. Theatre advisor: Theateradvies, Amsterdam. Structural engineer: Arup, Amsterdam. Local architect: Hsing-Hua Lo Architects and Associates, Taipei. Building cost: € 200 million, excluding park.

Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Performing Arts Kaohsiung : info from Mecanoo architecten May 07

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