The opening date for OMA‘s Taipei Performing Arts Centre in Taiwan has been set for August 7, as architects OMA announce its completion. Dubbed one of “Asia’s most important cultural developments in 2022”, the monumental building stretches over 59,000 square metres and will house three separate theatres.
OMA broke ground on the project in 2012 and has worked alongside local architecture firm KRIS YAO | ARTECH, engineering company Arup and landscape and interior design studio Inside Outside to bring it to completion. Collaboratively, the firms have worked to create a space in which performing arts can simultaneously thrive within the Shilin District and bring visitors to the area from across the globe.
OMA partners Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten said:
“Contemporary performance theatres increasingly become standardized: a combination of two different-sized auditoria and a black box, with conservative internal operation principles for authentic work.
Different from typical performance centres that have a front and a back side, Taipei Performing Arts Center has multiple faces defined by the theatres protruding above ground. With opaque facades, these theatres appear as mysterious elements against the animated and illuminated central cube clad in corrugated glass. A landscaped plaza beneath the compact theatre is a further stage for the public to gather, in this dense and vibrant part of Taipei.”
Set above Taipei’s famous Shilin Night Market, the practice’s futuristic design is intended to stand out from its surroundings while being an inviting space for the public to visit and enjoy. It foregoes the traditions of contemporary theatre construction, and invites visitors, with or without a ticket, to come inside via a loop that showcases its inner workings. Production areas that are often hidden from view become part of the visual offering, and portal windows allow visitors to peer into performances and technical spaces.
Combined, the three theatres have enough seats for 4,600 visitors. The spherical 800-seat “Globe Playhouse” is intended to resemble a planet docking against the cube, and the “Grand Theatre” offers a 1500-seat space for a wide variety of performing arts. The 800-seat “Blue Box” is intended for experimental presentations, and can be opened up to join the Grand Theatre to create a 2,300-seat “Super Theater”.
Starting from its official opening date on August 7, the Taipei Performing Arts Centre will roll out an ambitious opening season of 37 productions spanning contemporary and traditional theatre, dance, music, and VR productions.
While one OMA-designed arts centre completes, another one is just beginning. The firm, which was founded by Koolhaas in 1975, recently revealed its designs for a new arts and community centre in Detroit named “Lantern”, which makes use of a former commercial bakery and warehouse in the East Village.
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