OMA's extraordinary performing arts center is ready for showtime
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.
"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.
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