National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, a majestic architectural tree enshrines the city's artistic life under its protective canopy
The Kaohsiung National Center for the Arts symbolizes the transformation of the Chinese city of Kaohsiung, once a major international port, into a modern and diverse metropolis with a rich cultural climate. The project is located on former military land, and stands as an integral part of the adjacent subtropical park with the intent of positive social impact on Kaohsiung's nearly 3 million residents
The open and protective shape of the banyan tree, typical of the area, is chosen by the Mecanoo architectural firm as the starting point for the design of the Kaohsiung National Center for the Arts. The wide canopies of these iconic trees provide shelter against sun and rain and are a perfect expression of Kaohsiung's subtropical atmosphere. Inspired by these is the expansive and protective Banyan Plaza, a generous, sheltered and partially enclosed public space. Designed with the subtropical climate in mind, the open structure allows the refreshing wind to blow freely through the space
Between the four formal halls that form the logs supporting the undulating roof, an articulated massing that rises from ground level to more than five meters becomes part of the park's landscape. Residents can stroll here day and night, practice Tai Chi or street performances along the walkways and informal spaces. An outdoor theater lurks on the roof where the structure curves down to the ground joining with the surrounding park that serves as a stage. The continuous flow between interior and exterior creates opportunities for interpenetration of formal and informal artistic performances
7 hectares of architectural landscape, balanced between soft and hard landscape structures, houses event spaces and logistical access, creating a gradient of vegetation that then flows into Weiwuying Park. The architectural work is topped by a vast undulating roof consisting of a curved steel structure and a technical fabric in the shape of a tectonic plate that forms the conceptual foundation of the project. This undulating roof is a marvel of structural engineering, with one side excavated to form the outdoor amphitheater with high scenic and landscape impact
Inside, the curved walls expand and contract like the branches of a banyan tree, creating organic spaces for playing, making, viewing art and attending performances. The scale of the project is virtually unprecedented, but the character of each space remains welcoming and accessible to its inhabitants.
The theaters, the Concert Hall (1981 seats), the Opera House (2236 seats), the Recital Hall (434 seats) and the Play House (1210 seats), are located in the building's five cores which are formed by the structure meeting the ground. The cores connect to each other via rooftop foyers and an underground service level that houses the "backstage" of each theater