Photos: Ethan Lee, Shawn Liu Studio, Sytze Boonstra and National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)
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. Vescom supplied mohair upholstery fabrics for the seats in these different theatres. The fabric that was used to create the patterns is the Ariana. By weaving the piles into different directions you create shadoweffects that make the patterns.
The 1981-seat Concert Hall is shaped like a stepped vineyard with a stage at its centre, with terraces at different floor heights encircle the podium. The public enters the oak-lined from the ground floor and spiraling ramps lead them to their golden seats. Image copyright by Shawn Liu Studio and Ethan Lee.
The 434-seat Recital Hall has the most intimate atmosphere of the four. With its asymmetrical composition and seating across two levels, it is designed for chamber music and recital performances. The seats in the Recital Hall have the same golden fabric as the Concert Hall and oak lines the walls. Images copywright by Sytze Boonstra and Ethan Lee.
The Playhouse, with its 1210-seat in Mecanoo Blue, is designed to host a variety of drama and dance performances. Flexibility is the core element in the design of this multifunctional space. In the Playhouse, the layout is adaptable and can be changed from a typical proscenium stage with the audience in front, to a thrust stage with the audience on three sides. Images copyright National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)
The 2236-seat Opera House is arranged in the form of a horseshoe with three circled balconies. This theatre is suitable for Western opera, with an orchestra of over seventy musicians. The seating is upholstered in a mixture of red and purple fabrics with a pattern of Taiwanese flowers, contrasting with the darker walls. Images copywright National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) and Ethan Lee.