World’s largest performing arts centre opens in Taiwan

A performing arts centre designed by Dutch architect Mecanoo has opened in the southwest Taiwan province of Kaohsiung.

The structure’s form is inspired by the banyan trees, a kind of fig that can cover more than an acre, and which plays a prominent part in the cultures of the Asia-Pacific.

In the case of National Centre for the Arts, the architectural variant covers almost 10ha, making it the largest in the world. Its spreading canopy covers a 2,200-seat opera house, a 2,000-seat concert hall, a 1,200-seat playhouse and a 434-seat recital hall.

The venues are located in the five "legs" of the building, where the structure meets the ground, and also includes an open-air theatre, on the roof.

The concert hall has a pipe organ made by Johannes Klais Orgelbau of Bonn. With 9,194 pipes, this will be the largest instrument of its kind in Asia.

The legs connect with one another via foyers in the roof and an underground service floor which houses the backstage area of each theatre.

The centre’s first season will include concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Images courtesy of Mecanoo/Iwan Baan

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