Weiwuying, Taiwan

Mecanoo’s 141,000-square-metre National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, described as the “world’s largest performing arts centre under one roof”, is now open in Taiwan. 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, 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 Theatre linking the building to the park. The building’s flowing roof is defined by the scale and arrangement of the four auditoriums contained within. The art centre’s auditoriums are all accessed from a covered foyer, named the Banyan Plaza, which runs throughout the building around the venues, creating a publicly accessible area for people to gather.

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.