The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts. Photo: Mecanoo. Click above for more images.

1.5 Million-Square-Foot Performing Arts Center to Open in Taiwan

The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, the largest performing arts center housed under one roof, is slated to open in Taiwan this fall. Known as “Weiwuying,” the Mecanoo-designed, 1.5 million-square-foot building—the equivalent of thirty-five acres—will feature a 2,260-seat opera house; a 2,000-seat concert hall with a 9,085-pipe organ, the largest ever built in Asia; performance spaces, comprising a flexible 1,000- to 1,200-seat playhouse; and a 470-seat recital hall.

The former military training base is located in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung and is connected to a surrounding park, where the venue will also operate an outdoor performance space that can host audiences of up to 20,000 people.

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, under Gustavo Dudamel, will be among the first to perform at the center. International collaborative partners also include New York’s Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Singapore’s Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, and Aerowaves Spring Forward contemporary dance festival.

Commenting on the project, Francine Houben, founder of the Dutch architectural firm Mecanoo, said, “Weiwuying is one of Mecanoo’s most ambitious buildings and embodies all the key elements of our philosophy. Inspired by the beauty of the local Banyan trees with their iconic canopies of leaves, the vast, undulating structure is composed of a unique skin and roof under which generous free spaces can flow. We have aimed to deliver a flagship cultural destination for Taiwan, a beacon to attract performers and audiences from around the world.”