The proposal for the Performing Arts Center in Taipei by American Architectural Studio B+U creates a world-class institution which is characterized by both its response to its urban and cultural environment, and by its formal and structural elegance. The project embraces the concept of a Grand Plaza as being a center hub between the Shilin night market and the TRTS Jiantan station. This is achieved by lifting the multiform theater off the ground and creating a covered outdoor linkage space between Cheng De Road and Wen Lin Road. This linkage space is the center access to the grand foyer and all three theaters. On the south side the Grand Plaza transitions into a garden that gently slopes up towards Jiantan road to allow for shops and restaurants to be placed underneath and accessible from street level. Both the garden and the Grand Plaza provide a large outdoor space for the thousands of pedestrians that visit this area. The shops and restaurants are located along Wen Lin Road and Jian Tan Road and together with the Grand plaza and the garden space embrace Taipei's lively streetscape by creating a continuous experience from the busy streets of the Shilin night market to the Performing Arts Center and the train station.
The proposal for the Taipei Performing Arts Center is intended to become an important landmark building in the region that expresses the richness and diversity of performing arts and creates a destination point for the area. For the development of the design we used a unique process using actual sounds as a basis. The morphology and shape of the building was designed using sound-waves that were analyzed and transformed into three dimensional vectors. These vectors became the formal and structural framework for the design of the exterior envelope. The building materializes with a metal and glass enclosure that reveals its activities in a variety of scales and angles to the city.
Front of House – The three theaters are grouped around a center foyer accessible from the Grand Plaza. The Grand Theater and the Playhouse are located to the north while the Multiform Theater is lifted of the ground and connected to the foyer on the south side. The concept for the front of house was to create a spectacular center lobby space enclosed with glass and a Grand Stair case that connects to the main foyer of each theater. This creates a visual relationship between all three theaters and the foyers around a center space. Its' dynamic shape and glass facades is to encourage the people of Taipei to explore the building and embrace it as an exciting artistic showplace for the public. Each theater has a single control point at the main foyer level and individual circulation from there to the upper gallery levels. This allows for the general public to experience this space without necessarily accessing the theaters. The ticketing, coat check and general information for all three theaters is located on the ground level.Theater Concept – The concept for the theaters was to design a flexible world class performance space that allows for a variety of different performance genres and is especially tailored to the needs of the Taiwanese interdisciplinary performing arts scene. The Grand Theater seats 1500 people with a main floor and three balcony levels. It can easily be configured to support performances that range from opera, ballet and orchestra performances to multidisciplinary performances including drama, dance, multimedia performances, drum –percussions, Zen meditation, martial arts, etc. The 800 seat Playhouse is designed as a proscenium theater with two balcony levels. However the orchestra pit was designed to support different performance styles. The Multiform Theater has a total of 800 seats with two balcony levels and maximum flexibility in regards to stage and seating layout and is designed to allow for a variety of configurations including center stage, thrust stage and front stage configurations.
Back of House -The back of house is organized most efficiently and designed as a state of the art venue that fulfills all the requirements of the various forms of contemporary performing arts and complies with the needs of Taiwan's diverse performance culture. Back of house areas for the Grand Theater and the Playhouse are located to the north across Bailing High School and with direct and easy access to all stages. Each theater has a separate backstage access from Cheng De Road and Ji Ho Road. Both theaters share the loading dock while individual scenery assembly spaces and large orchestra rehearsal are located with direct adjacency to the stage. The majority of the rehearsal and dressing rooms are in close proximity of the stage to allow for easy and convenient access. The administration offices, conference rooms and the library are located directly above the back stage and are overlooking Bailing High School. The back of house for the Multiform Theater is located on level 5&6 on the south side and adjacent and below the Theater. The back of house area is connected to the underground loading dock with a large freight elevator. The Multiform Theater has a separate back stage access from the Grand Plaza.
Access and Parking- The main pedestrian access for all three theaters is through the Grand Foyer accessible from either Wen Lin Road and Cheng De road. In order to handle the increased volume of pedestrian traffic from the train station to the grand theater we are proposing a new under path crossing Wen Lin Road. All visitor, VIP and staff parking for the project are underground with access from Cheng De Road. The drop off zones for taxi and busses are located adjacent to the Grand Plaza along Wen Lin Road and Cheng De Road. There are two separate loading docks. One loading dock to the north adjacent to Bailing Senior High School, with access from Cheng De road. This loading dock allows for unloading on stage level for both of these theaters. The second loading dock is underground with access from Cheng De Road. It services the Multiform Theater with a large freight elevator as well as the shops and restaurants above.
Client: Taipei City Government- Department of Cultural Affairs
Program: Performing Arts Center
Size: 400,000 sqft
Budget: 130 million
Completion date: 2008-12-08 unbuild
Material: Glass, Steel, metal, concrete
Team: Principals:Herwig Baumgartner, Scott Uriu Team: Paul Macherey, Justin Oh, Phillip Ramirez, Art Zargaryan, Daniel Saltee, Yaohua Wang
Consultant: S.C.S. & Associates (Executive Architect), ARUP (structure& MEP), Theatre projects consultants, Inc (theater consultant), Nagata acoustics (acoustician