Taipei Performing Arts Center by OMA officially opens in Taiwan

Aerial view of TPAC

The landmark Taipei Performing Arts Center by Dutch architecture studio OMA has officially opened to the public in Taiwan, nine years later than originally planned.

Occupying a site next to Taipei’s popular Shilin Night Market, the 59,000-square-metre performance venue was opened by the city’s mayor, Ko Wen-je, on Sunday 7 August.

Exterior of the Taipei Performing Arts Center by OMA in Taiwan
The Taipei Performing Arts Center has officially opened

Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) has a distinctive appearance with multiple fronts, which OMA formed by plugging three theatres into a central glass-clad cube.

The three venues are the spherical 800-seat Globe Playhouse, the 1,500-seat Grand Theater and an 800-seat multiform theatre for experimental performances called the Blue Box.

Exterior of theatre in Taiwan
The venue has three theatres that plug into its exterior. Photo is by Chris Stowers

The Grand Theatre and Blue Box can also be combined to form a fourth venue – the giant 2,300-seat Super Theater.

TPAC was designed by OMA to challenge traditional theatres and “inspire productions in unimagined and spontaneous forms”.

Streetscape in Taipei featuring the Globe Playhouse
The design was informed by Taipei’s “appetite for experiment”. Photo is by Chris Stowers

“When we first visited Taipei for the competition, we felt it was a city with an appetite for experiment,” explained OMA’s founder and project lead Rem Koolhaas.

“This building is a response to that discovery. We put three traditional theatres together in a way that offers theatre makers completely new opportunities to conceive spectacles and performances.”

Roof view of Taipei Performing Arts Center by OMA
The Globe Playhouse is a spherical venue

OMA won a competition to design the long-awaited complex in 2009 with Taiwanese design studio Kris Yao Artech. It was commissioned by Taipei City Government to support local performing arts groups.

Completion was originally planned for 2013, but construction did not begin until 2012 and the building topped out in August 2014.

Plaza at Taipei theatre venue by OMA
A public plaza sits beneath the building

The arts centre opened on Sunday with a performance by Taipei Symphony Orchestra, kickstarting a season of 37 productions scheduled across the three theatres.

Another key element of the building is the Public Loop – a walkway that runs around the theatre’s production and backstage areas.

Open to the public whether or not they have a ticket for a performance, the walkway is lined with portal windows that provide views into areas that are often hidden from view.

To help the building form part of the city, a landscaped plaza has been positioned beneath the building. This acts as an additional stage for performance and as a space for the public to gather.

Interior of The Globe Playhouse by OMA
The Globe Playhouse has 800 seats

“The theatre culture and the vibrant street culture coexist in this public building and around the site,” said OMA’s managing partner David Gianotten, who led the project with Koolhaas.

“For us, this mix of cultures aptly captures the energy of Taipei, a city always open to changes.”

The Blue Box theatre at Taipei Performing Arts Center by OMA
The Blue Box venue is designed for experimentation

OMA, known formally as Office for Metropolitan Architecture, was founded in Rotterdam in 1975 by Koolhaas with Elia Zenghelis, Madelon Vriesendorp and Zoe Zenghelis. The studio also has offices in New York, Doha, Sydney, Hong Kong, Beijing and Dubai.

The opening of TPAC follows the studio’s recent announcements of its plans to transform a derelict bakery in Detroit into a gallery and create a series of interlocking towers on Miami Beach.

The photography is by Shephotoerd Co unless stated otherwise.

Project credits:

Design architect: OMA
Partners-in-Charge: Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten
Executive architect: Kris Yao Artech
Theatre consultant: Ducks Scéno, Creative Solution Integration Ltd
Acoustic consultant: Royal HaskoningDHV and Theo Raijmakers (level acoustics & vibration), SM&W
Landscape designer, interior designer: Inside Outside
Structure, MEP, building physics, fire engineer: Arup
Structural engineer: Evergreen Consulting Engineering Inc
Services engineer: Heng Kai Inc, IS Leng and Associates Engineers
Fire engineer: Taiwan Fire Safety Consulting Ltd
Lighting consultant: Chroma 33
Facade engineer: ABT, CDC Inc
Sustainability consultant: Segreene Design and Consulting
Landscape consultant: CNHW
Geotechnical engineer: Sino Geotech
Traffic consultant: Everest Engineering Consultants Inc
Animation: Artefactory

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