The long-anticipated Taipei Performing Arts Center designed by OMA is complete and will officially open to the public on August 7th 2022. Situated in Taipei’s vibrant Shilin Night Market, the new cultural landmark is designed as a place for new possibilities in performing arts. The monumental architecture is made up of three theaters plugged into a central cube.
‘Theater has a very long tradition. We have seen contemporary performance theaters increasingly becoming standardized, with conservative internal operation principles,’ says OMA Founding Partner Rem Koolhaas. ‘We want to contribute to the history of the theater. 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 theater.’
The building is composed of a spherical 800-seat Globe Playhouse, a 1,500-seat Grand Theater, and a 800-seat Blue Box plugged into a central cube. The cube accommodates the stages, back stages, and support spaces of the three theaters, allowing the Grand Theater and the Blue Box to be coupled to form a Super Theater—a massive space with factory quality for unsuspected performances. The Globe Playhouse with a unique proscenium allows experimentation with stage framing.
‘The configuration of three theaters plugged into a central cube has resulted in new internal workings of the performing spaces to inspire unimagined productions,’ comments David Gianotten, OMA Managing Partner – Architect.
The central cube is lifted off the ground to create a landscaped plaza. From there, a free-to-access Public Loop—with portal windows open to view inside the three theaters—runs through the infrastructure and spaces for performing arts production that are typically hidden.
Gianotten adds, ‘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.’
Kris Yao, Founder of KRIS YAO | ARTECH, the Taiwanese design collaborating architect, says, ‘This new building not only presents itself to the world as a brand new and unique configuration of theater complexes, it also sits perfectly in its location – right at the center where the plebian life of Taipei happens. Its informal, unpretentious, and raw architecture spaces echo the spirits of how citizens of Taipei approach art.’
In terms of architectural form, Taipei Performing Arts Center has multiple faces defined by the protruding auditoria—different than typical performance centers that have a front and a back side. The auditoria with opaque façades appear as mysterious elements docking against the animated and illuminated central cube clad in corrugated glass.
‘The completion of Taipei Performing Arts Center has a significant meaning for the arts,’ comments Liu Ruo-yu, Chairman of Taipei Performing Arts Center. ‘It is special in the sense that it is a platform that grows together with the younger generation. Their continuous reflection and practice will result in a spectacular arts scene in the future.’
Austin Wang, CEO of Taipei Performing Arts Center, adds, ‘Taipei Performing Arts Center’s completion represents the positioning of Taiwanese theater in 21st century contemporary theater. All perspectives are welcome. All possibilities are included. All art forms can happen here.’