The following text and images are courtesy Vienna-based Architects.Collaborative, for their Taipei Performing Arts Center competition entry in Taipei, Taiwan.
The building possesses a unique appearance that derives from the urban context and the functional criteria merged into the design motif of a sound wave. The building's undulating roof is reminiscent of an endless sound wave that radiates from the Performing Arts Center into the city of Taipei like a sound instrument.
In functional terms the three theaters are individual structures that are joined at their base like a corresponding vessel, sharing repair shop and storage and moving goods, staff as well as a single security point for the back of house. The design tries to achieve a marriage between theatrical and architectural concepts.
The three theaters are connected by the Common Lobby at the center of the site, a semi-indoor space that is open 24 hours a day and requires no ticket, with control points at the theater's entrance. Its environment will be comfortable and energy-saving by providing sun and rain protection and at the same time natural ventilation and a generous feeling of openness.
The building design springs not only from its urban and functional context, but also from a need to create a building capable of adapting and reacting to the sub-tropical environment. The roof of the individual theaters is covered like sun hats providing natural and efficient cooling for the building. The semi-enclosed Common Lobby is a partially shaded glass canopy open to the street that does not need to be heated or cooled.
At the heart of the complex is the Common Lobby which is an elevated platform from which the three theaters are accessed. People can visit the venues or the restaurant or just to walk through this urban passage. This multifunctional space can be used as a gathering space, for events or as an open air theater. The human experience is that of openness and connectivity to the outside and an attraction and drawing in toward the building when experienced from outside. The positive and negative space of the complex creates dramatic and fluid inside-outside spaces interacting with the city and the center.
The center consists of a solitary volume that is broken up into four blocks similar to shifting continents. The structure is further differentiated by the southern block (Restaurant) that is articulated as a bridge or gate and the northern block (Grand Theater) which is rotated in plan to open the center towards the Shilin Night Market. Through these manipulations the structure becomes porous and responsive to its urban context serving as a mediator and friendly neighbor to its diverse surrounding. The center is readily seen as a landmark from different main roadways and the TRST train and is a clearly delineated building volume.
To the south the restaurant consists of a bridge to creating stage-like entry from Jian Tan Road into the Common Lobby for the three theaters. From the TRTS´s Jiantan Station the theaters can be directly accessed by a underground pedestrian passage that also includes the ticket office and a theater shop and is connected to the Common Lobby, Underground Parking and the sidewalk along Wen Lin Road.
Cars and motorcycles leave and enter the site at the north-west corner of the site. Service Trucks enter the building at a single security point at the north-west corner and leave at the north-east corner. The three theaters are accessed by a central covered loading courtyard that allows multiple 40-ft-containers to be loaded and unloaded simultaneously and has three entry points to the Theaters and one for the shared repair shops.