Concert hall in Kaohsiung
(c) Mecanoo

In the south-Taiwanese city Kaohsiung Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture opened yesterday a gigantic centre for the performing arts, worldwide the biggest under a single roof. It has been designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo. The building covers 141 000 square meters, nearly as much as 20 football fields.

The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts symbolizes the transformation of Kaohsiung, once a major international harbour, into a modern, diverse city with a rich cultural climate. It is located on a former military terrain, as an integral part of the adjacent subtropical park to have a positive social impact on the residents of Kaohsiung whose population counts almost 3 million.

(c) Mecanoo

Inspired by the local Banyan trees with their typical crowns, the vast, undulating structure comprises the 1981-seat Concert Hall and 2236-seat Opera House, a Playhouse with 1210 seats, a Recital Hall with 434 seats, a public library of 800 m2, rehearsal/education halls for music and dance, 2 congress halls with 100 and 200 chairs and stage building workshops. The complex also has an open-air theatre with a total capacity of 5861 seats.

Underneath this roof is Banyan Plaza, a generous, sheltered public space. Residents can wander through here day and night, practice Tai Chi or stage street performances along walkways and in informal spaces.

Among the first foreign orchestras to play in the new centre are the Berlin Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel on November 14, and then, one day later, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks with Mariss Jansons.

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