The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in Taiwan stands out for its colossal presence and undulating design. Some people here say it looks like a spaceship. Others think it resembles a giant stingray.
One point is not contested, however. With a look inspired by banyan trees and the local shipping industry, the arts center has raised the cultural prestige of this southern Taiwanese city while providing residents with a popular public space.
The performing arts center, known as Weiwuying after its surrounding park, is the world’s largest under one roof. The $348 million facility opened last October with indoor and outdoor concerts, signaling its arrival as a new destination for world-class performances in Kaohsiung, long derided by Taiwanese as being a “cultural desert.”
The opening capped a transition for the site, a former military base established by imperial Japan during its colonial rule of Taiwan. After World War II, it was occupied by Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang. Today, the 1.5-million-square-foot arts center sits at the north end of Weiwuying Municipal Park, which opened in 2010 and is roughly one-seventh the size of Central Park.
Visitors to Kaohsiung might mistakenly think the arts center has long been a part of life here because of the way residents have so openly embraced it. In the morning, people practice yoga on mats while others jog through Banyan Plaza, the building’s covered square, which connects the four halls: a 2,236-seat opera house, a 1,981-seat concert hall, a 1,210-seat playhouse and a 434-seat recital hall.
Full article via The New York Times
Images by An Rong Xu.