Architecture

OMA's extraordinary performing arts center is ready for showtime

OMA's extraordinary performing...
The Taipei Performing Arts Center's Globe Playhouse is likened to a planet "docking" into the building by OMA
The Taipei Performing Arts Center's Globe Playhouse is likened to a planet "docking" into the building by OMA
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center was under construction from 2012 to 2022
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center was under construction from 2012 to 2022
The Taipei Performing Arts Center measures 59,000 sq m (roughly 635,000 sq ft)
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center measures 59,000 sq m (roughly 635,000 sq ft)
The Taipei Performing Arts Center is anchored by a central cube, which is raised above the ground to create a public plaza space
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center is anchored by a central cube, which is raised above the ground to create a public plaza space
The Taipei Performing Arts Center's exterior is partially shaded to reduce solar heat gain
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center's exterior is partially shaded to reduce solar heat gain
The Taipei Performing Arts Center's spherical Globe Playhouse theater juts out 26 m (85 ft)
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center's spherical Globe Playhouse theater juts out 26 m (85 ft)
The Taipei Performing Arts Center is partially topped with green roofs
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center is partially topped with green roofs
The Taipei Performing Arts Center is located at Taipei's Shilin Night Market
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center is located at Taipei's Shilin Night Market
The Taipei Performing Arts Center's Blue Box theater seats 800 and is used for experimental presentations
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center's Blue Box theater seats 800 and is used for experimental presentations
The Taipei Performing Arts Center's Grand Theater seats 1,500 people and hosts a variety of performing arts
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center's Grand Theater seats 1,500 people and hosts a variety of performing arts
The Taipei Performing Arts Center has undergone test performances and opens to the public in August
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center has undergone test performances and opens to the public in August
The Taipei Performing Arts Center's Globe Playhouse is likened to a planet "docking" into the building by OMA
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The Taipei Performing Arts Center's Globe Playhouse is likened to a planet "docking" into the building by OMA
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Following 10 years of construction and 13 years since it was first commissioned, OMA's remarkably ambitious Taipei Performing Arts Center has now finally been completed in Taiwan. The eye-catching building takes the form of a large cube, with three bulging theaters protruding out from it.

The Taipei Performing Arts Center was realized in collaboration with engineering giant Arup and is located at Taipei's Shilin Night Market. According to the Financial Times, its budget came in at TWD 6.7 billion (roughly US$220 million).

Much of the building's available floorspace of 59,000 sq m (roughly 635,000 sq ft) is taken up by the large central cube, which is raised above the ground on supports to create a public plaza below. The cube hosts backstage areas, foyers and support facilities, as well as offering access to the three protruding theaters.

Of these, the spherical 800-seat Globe Playhouse is clearly the most striking and juts outwards by 26 m (85 ft). The Grand Theater, meanwhile, hosts 1,500 seats, while opposite and on the same level is the 800-seat multiform theater, Blue Box, which is used for experimental presentations. Furthermore, the Blue Box and Grand Theater can also be combined to become one 2,300-seat "Super Theater," if required.

The Taipei Performing Arts Center is anchored by a central cube, which is raised above the ground to create a public plaza space
The Taipei Performing Arts Center is anchored by a central cube, which is raised above the ground to create a public plaza space

"Different than typical performance centers that have a front and a back side, Taipei Performing Arts Center has multiple faces defined by the theaters protruding above ground," explained OMA. "With opaque facades, these theaters appear as mysterious elements against the animated and illuminated central cube clad in corrugated glass. A landscaped plaza beneath the compact theater is an additional stage for the public to gather, in this dense and vibrant part of Taipei."

Elsewhere, the general public is able to take a tour of the interior even without a ticket, via a Public Loop running through the building. This pathway offers glimpses of production areas, technical spaces, and even performance spaces through porthole-style windows.

During the design phase, OMA had to take into account the local seismic conditions. The building is therefore base isolated, which reduces the shaking experienced during an earthquake. Additionally, the design has a degree of thought paid to sustainability. It's partially topped by green roofs and has also been designed to maximize passive ventilation, reducing cooling costs, while part of its facade is shaded to reduce solar heat gain.

Test performances have been taking place between March and May and now that it's finally complete, the theater will officially open to the public in August.

Sources: OMA, Arup

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1 comment
1 comment
GregVoevodsky
Interesting... looks like it came out of LA having gone to Pasadena Art Center above the Rose Bowl which looked cool, but leaked when it rained and had no windows in the classrooms - all black and white with poor ergonomics. So, I hope this design is more practical but taking 10 years to build a building makes me wonder.