Photographer Sytze Boonstra has captured the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in Taiwan through a series of new images. Bringing Mecanoo’s work to life, Boonstra turned his lens to the part-landscape, part-architecture building with four performance halls tucked underneath a 35-acre artificial terrain. As the largest performing-arts center under one roof, the project was made to blur the boundaries between indoors and out, solid and void.
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.
Kaohsiung, with a population of around 3 million, located in the south of Taiwan, once a major international harbour, is now a modern, diverse city with a rich cultural offer. The new National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, occupying a site that was formerly a military training base, symbolises the developing outlook for the city of Kaohsiung and Taiwan – with a mission to connect local and global talent through arts and culture.
Weiwuying’s Artistic Director Chien Wen-Pin said, ‘Something that overseas visitors to Weiwuying will encounter is the passion for theatre, dance, spectacle and music that is everywhere in Taiwan. Our audiences are extraordinarily enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I will continue to work with artists at home and abroad to uncover new ideas for programming that reflect the very best in contemporary practice. Weiwuying, with its extraordinary facilities, gives us the opportunity to experiment – to be bold and innovative, and to try different things.’
The October 2018 opening of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts will complete Taiwan’s national umbrella organisation National Performing Arts Center, incorporating Taipei’s National Theater and Concert Hall and the National Taichung Theater.
The three flagship institutions will be home to Taiwan’s internationally renowned contemporary dance and theatre companies, orchestras of Western and Chinese music, Peking, Taiwanese and Western opera troupes, hand puppet companies, Oscar and Golden Lion- winning filmmakers, Booker-nominated authors, Mando-pop stars and beyond.