Its strong geometric forms peering over Taiwan centre's hustle and bustle, the Taipei Performing Arts Center by OMA is finally complete. Following a decade-long development and construction process, which had to tackle anything from architectural fine-tuning to delays caused by the bankruptcy of its main contractor, as well as the pandemic, the highly anticipated cultural hub for Taiwan is now preparing to open its doors to the public with an official ceremony on 7 August 2022.
The architects behind it, OMA, with a team headed by Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten, highlight its clever, flexible design, which incorporates three large theatres arranged around a central cube, while on the ground level, city life and a night market that previously occupied the site can continue operating as usual, inviting the community into the newly created architectural project.
Within it, there is the spherical 800-seat proscenium theatre, Globe Playhouse; the Grand Theater, a 1,500-seat space for a wide variety of performances; and the 800-seat multiform theatre, Blue Box, which will play host to the hub’s more experimental productions. The last two can also be combined to become the 2,300-seat Super Theater, accommodating the largest events possible. A publically accessible walkway leads visitors in and through the building freely, underlining this blend of arts and daily community life.
‘The configuration of three theatres plugged into a central cube has resulted in new internal workings of the performing spaces to inspire unimagined productions. The Public Loop exposes visitors with and without tickets to these new works and their creative processes. We are excited by how the building constantly generates new relationships between artists, spectators, and the public,' says Gianotten.
Koolhaas adds: ‘Theatre has a very long tradition. We have seen contemporary performance theatres increasingly becoming standardised, with conservative internal operation principles. We want to contribute to the history of the theatre. Here in Taipei, we were able to combine three auditoria in a particular way. We are interested to see how this architecture will have an impact in terms of extending what we can do in theatre.’
The Taipei Performing Arts Center plans an inaugural season chock-full of spectacle, with a variety of events befitting its impressive building. A total of 37 productions and 142 performances of all shapes and sizes have been lined up to flag the grand opening of this key cultural destination for the whole region.
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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).
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