World's largest performing arts center opens in Taiwan
Billed as a new cultural hub for East Asia, the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts in Taiwan is an expansive facility that references the local landscape and houses a huge public plaza under its undulating roof. Around 50,000 people attended the opening last week, with the center's large performances spaces playing host to an inaugural concert and ceremony.
Designed by Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo, the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts is described as the largest performing arts center in the world and covers 141,000 sq m (1,518,000 sq ft) in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung. Built on former military land, the new facility sits alongside subtropical parklands and is inspired by Banyan trees, a species typical in the area with a distinctive web of sprawling trunks at its base.
This form was adapted to the primary structure of the arts center, with the undulating roof supported by a set of performance halls that represent the trunks touching the ground. One of those is the stunning 1,981-seat concert hall designed like a stepped vineyard, with oak-lined terraces encircling the podium to make for intimate performances.
Others include a horseshoe-shaped 2,236-seat Opera House with three circled balconies, a 1,210-seat drama and dance center, and the most intimate of the lot, a 434-seat recital hall. The open spaces in between are designed to counter the subtropical climate by encouraging airflow through the plaza, which doubles as a covered public space for walking, street performing or, according to Mecanoo, practicing Tai Chi.
One particularly interesting feature of the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts is the outdoor amphiteater, which is actually built into the roof as it slopes downwards towards the park.
Among the performances over the opening weekend were showings from the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Taiwanese and international soloists, light shows, Taiwanese aboriginal dance, opera, puppetry and digital art. The Inauguration Season continues until January 1, 2019, and you can check out the gallery to see some of the opening weekend highlights.