Designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, the extraordinary architecture of 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.
This article was originally published on November 25, 2014. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Architects have never enjoyed a position of such supreme prominence as they did in the worldview of Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller. To him, architects alone were capable of understanding and navigating the complex interrelationships of society, technology, and environment as viewed through the comprehensive paradigm of systems theory. Architecture, in this model, was intended to exist in close contact with both mankind and nature, playing civilization’s most critical role in elevating the state of humanity and promoting its responsible stewardship of the environment. Emerging from the ethical positivity of postwar modernism, this melioristic perspective marks perhaps the zenith of optimism’s ascent in mid-twentieth century thought, and gave Fuller a uniquely moral blueprint for his revolutionary designs.