The OMA-designed Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) tops out on 27th August. Consisting of three theatres plugged into a central cube, TPAC encourages experimental theatre production, while a public loop invites wider engagement in the performing arts.
Taipei’s mayor Hau Lung-pin, together with representatives from the city government, OMA’s design team led by Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten, and design partner KRIS YAO | ARTECHin Taipei led by Kris Yao and Willy Yu, take part in today’s topping out ceremony.
TPAC’s design is comprised of a 1,500-seat Grand Theatre, an 800-seat Multiform Theatre, and an 800-seat Proscenium Playhouse. Plugged into a transparent central cube, each theatre can function independently while sharing backstage space and mechanical facilities. However the Grand Theatre and the Multiform Theatre can also be combined into a Super Theatre with a 100-metre long space for experimental theatrical possibilities.
Rem Koolhaas: “This arrangement allows the stages to be coupled for unsuspected scenarios and uses. The design offers the advantages of specificity with the freedoms of the undefined.”
Running through TPAC is a public circulation path that allows glimpses of performances and backstage workings. The central cube of TPAC, lifted from the ground, liberates the space at ground level to create a plaza for public activities, drawing more people into the performing arts center.
David Gianotten: “With its superstructure finished, TPAC’s connection with the surrounding urban fabric becomes apparent. The performing arts center responds to the adjacent Jiantan MRT station and the night market, channeling the energy of the informal public life of the surroundings into the site and the future building, intensifying their vitality.”
Façade construction of TPAC will begin in October 2014. The building envelope consists of two primary materials: corrugated glass wrapping the central cube, and large aluminum panels cladding the three theatres. TPAC main construction is scheduled for completion in 2015. OMA won the design competition for Taipei Performing Arts Center in January 2009.
In recent years, the world has seen a proliferation of performance centres that, according to a mysterious consensus, consist of more or less an identical combination: a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 1,500-seat theatre, and a black box. Overtly iconic external forms disguise conservative internal workings based on 19th century practice (and symbolism: balconies as evidence of social stratification). Although the essential elements of theatre– stage, proscenium, and auditorium– are more than 3,000 years old, there is no excuse for contemporary stagnation. TPAC takes the opposite approach: experimentation in the internal workings of the theatre, producing (without being conceived as such) the external presence of an icon.
TPAC consists of three theatres, each of which can function autonomously. The theatres plug into a central cube, which consolidates the stages, backstages and support spaces into a single and efficient whole. This arrangement allows the stages to be modified or merged for unsuspected scenarios and uses. The design offers the advantages of specificity with the freedoms of the undefined.
Performance centres typically have a front and a back side. Through its compactness, TPAC has many different “faces,” defined by the individual auditoria that protrude outward and float above this dense and vibrant part of the city. The auditoria read like mysterious, dark elements against the illuminated, animated cube that is clad in corrugated glass. The cube is lifted from the ground and the street extends into the building, gradually separating into different theatres.
The Proscenium Playhouse resembles a suspended planet docking with the cube. The audience circulates between an inner and outer shell to access the auditorium. Inside the auditorium, the intersection of the inner shell and the cube forms a unique proscenium that creates any frame imaginable.
The Grand Theatre is a contemporary evolution of the large theatre spaces of the 20th century. Resisting the standard shoebox, its shape is slightly asymmetrical. The stage level, parterre, and balcony are unified into a folded plane. Opposite the Grand Theatre on the same level, the Multiform Theatre is a flexible space to accommodate the most experimental performances.
The Super Theatre is a massive, factory-like environment formed by coupling the Grand Theatre and Multiform Theatre. It can accommodate the previously impossible ambitions of productions like B.A. Zimmermann’s opera Die Soldaten (1958), which demands a 100-metre-long stage. Existing conventional works can be re-imagined on a monumental scale, and new, as yet unimagined forms of theatre will flourish in the Super Theatre.
The general public—even those without a theatre ticket—are also encouraged to enter TPAC. The Public Loop is trajectory through the theatre infrastructure and spaces of production, typically hidden, but equally impressive and choreographed as the “visible” performance. The Public Loop not only enables the audience to experience theatre production more fully, but also allows the theatre to engage a broader public.
The OMA-designed Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) tops out on 27th August. Consisting of three theatres plugged into a central cube, TPAC encourages experimental theatre production, while a public loop invites wider engagement in the performing arts. Taipei’s mayor Hau Lung-pin, together with representatives from the city government, OMA’s design team led by Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten, and design partner KRIS YAO | ARTECHin Taipei led by Kris Yao and Willy Yu, take part...
- Year 2015
- Work started in 2012
- Work finished in 2015
- Client Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government
- Cost 140 million
- Status Current works
- Type Multi-purpose Cultural Centres / Theatres