Described as Taiwan’s most significant cultural investment in a generation, the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts symbolises the developing outlook for the city of Kaohsiung and Taiwan – with a mission to connect local and global talent through arts and culture.
Designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, the extraordinary architecture of Taiwan’s national arts centre, the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts (Weiwuying) is inspired by the sinuous canopy created by clusters of banyan trees commonly found in the region. The single sweeping building covers a surface area of 35 acres (141,000 sqm) and is set in the spectacular 116-acre (470,000 sqm) subtropical park in the heart of Kaohsiung, making it the world’s largest performing arts centre under one roof as well as Taiwan’s most significant cultural investment in a generation.
It incorporates five state of the art performance spaces: a 2,236-seat Opera House, a 1,981-seat Concert Hall, a 1,210-seat Playhouse, a 434-seat
Recital Hall and an Outdoor Theater linking the
building to the park. It also features Asia’s largest
pipe organ – 9,085 pipes – built by Germany’s
Klais Orgelbau Bonn.
“ARTS FOR THE PEOPLE”
Up to 50,000 people attended the grand opening concert and ‘Arts for the People’ opening party on 13 October. Guests included the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Tsai Ing-Wen and numerous high-ranking representatives from the worlds of politics and culture.
Chien Wen-Pin, Executive and Artistic Director of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), conducted the combined forces of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra, Kaohsiung Chamber Choir and musicians from Kaohsiung Music Alliance. The line- up of Taiwanese and international soloists included the Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna – who inaugurated Asia’s largest pipe organ.
Says Chien, “Something that overseas visitors to
Weiwuying will encounter is the passion for theatre,
dance, spectacle and music that is everywhere in
Taiwan. Weiwuying, with its extraordinary facilities,
gives us the opportunity to experiment – to be bold
and innovative, and to try different things”.
The October 2018 opening of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts will complete Taiwan’s national umbrella organisation National Performing Arts Center, incorporating Taipei’s National Theatre and Concert Hall and the National Taichung Theatre. The three flagship institutions will be home to Taiwan’s internationally renowned contemporary dance and theatre companies, orchestras of Western and Chinese music, Peking, Taiwanese and Western opera troupes, hand puppet companies, Oscar and Golden Lion-winning filmmakers, Booker-nominated authors, Mando-pop stars and beyond.
Kaohsiung, with a population of around 3 million,
located in the south of Taiwan, once a major
international harbour, is now a modern, diverse
city with a rich cultural offer. The new National
Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, occupying a site that
was formerly a military training base, symbolises the
developing outlook for the city of Kaohsiung and
Taiwan – with a mission to connect local and global
talent through arts and culture.
Founded in Delft in 1984, Mecanoo Architecten is made up of a multidisciplinary staff of creative professionals from 25 countries and is led by creative director/founding partner Francine Houben.