Why have the most exciting theatrical events of the past 100 years taken place outside the spaces formally designed for them? Can architecture transcend its own dirty secret, the inevitability of imposing limits on what is possible?
▼夜晚的台北表演艺术中心，TPAC during night ©Chris Stowers
In recent years, the world has seen a proliferation of performance centres that, according to a mysterious consensus, consist of more or less an identical combination: a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 1,500-seat theatre, and a black box. Overtly iconic external forms disguise conservative internal workings based on 19th century practice (and symbolism: balconies as evidence of social stratification). Although the essential elements of theatre– stage, proscenium, and auditorium– are more than 3,000 years old, there is no excuse for contemporary stagnation. TPAC takes the opposite approach: experimentation in the internal workings of the theatre, producing (without being conceived as such) the external presence of an icon.
▼艺术中心鸟瞰，aerial view of TPAC ©Chris Stowers
▼艺术中心与街道，street and TPAC ©Chris Stowers
▼虚实体块形成鲜明对比，solid and transparent volumes contrasting with each other ©Kevin Mak
▼街景，street view ©Chris Stowers
TPAC consists of three theatres, each of which can function autonomously. The theatres plug into a central cube, which consolidates the stages, backstages and support spaces into a single and efficient whole. This arrangement allows the stages to be modified or merged for unsuspected scenarios and uses. The design offers the advantages of specificity with the freedoms of the undefined.
▼分析图，建筑包含三个剧场，analysis, architecture including three theaters ©OMA
Performance centres typically have a front and a back side. Through its compactness, TPAC has many different “faces,” defined by the individual auditoria that protrude outward and float above this dense and vibrant part of the city. The auditoria read like mysterious, dark elements against the illuminated, animated cube that is clad in corrugated glass. The cube is lifted from the ground and the street extends into the building, gradually separating into different theatres.
▼悬浮在街道上方的球形观演厅，Proscenium Playhouse suspended above the street ©Chris Stowers
The Proscenium Playhouse resembles a suspended planet docking with the cube. The audience circulates between an inner and outer shell to access the auditorium. Inside the auditorium, the intersection of the inner shell and the cube forms a unique proscenium that creates any frame imaginable.
▼球形观演厅室内效果图，interior of the Proscenium Playhouse ©上：OMA_Artefactory，下：OMA
The Grand Theatre is a contemporary evolution of the large theatre spaces of the 20th century. Resisting the standard shoebox, its shape is slightly asymmetrical. The stage level, parterre, and balcony are unified into a folded plane. Opposite the Grand Theatre on the same level, the Multiform Theatre is a flexible space to accommodate the most experimental performances.
▼大剧院室内，不同观众席和舞台整合在一片折板中，interior of the Grand Theater, different seatings and stage unified into a folded plane ©OMA_Artefactory
▼多功能剧场，可以满足不同形式的表演需求，Multiform Theater accommodates different types of performance ©OMA
The Super Theatre is a massive, factory-like environment formed by coupling the Grand Theatre and Multiform Theatre. It can accommodate the previously impossible ambitions of productions like B.A. Zimmermann’s opera Die Soldaten (1958), which demands a 100-metre-long stage. Existing conventional works can be re-imagined on a monumental scale, and new, as yet unimagined forms of theatre will flourish in the Super Theatre.
▼连接大剧院和多功能剧场形成超级剧场，Super Theater created by connecting the Grand Theater and the Multiform Theater ©OMA
The general public—even those without a theatre ticket—are also encouraged to enter TPAC. The Public Loop is trajectory through the theatre infrastructure and spaces of production, typically hidden, but equally impressive and choreographed as the “visible” performance. The Public Loop not only enables the audience to experience theatre production more fully, but also allows the theatre to engage a broader public.
▼流线分析，circulation analysis ©OMA
▼室外公共空间，outdoor public space ©OMA_Artefactory
▼夜景，night view ©OMA_Artefactory
▼一层平面图，first floor plan ©OMA
▼二层平面图，second floor plan ©OMA
▼五层平面图，fifth floor plan ©OMA
Project: Taipei Performing Arts Center
Status: Under construction, scheduled completion: mid-2021
Authority in charge: Taipei City Government
Executive Departments: Department of Cultural Affairs, First District Project Office, Department of Rapid Transit Systems, New Construction Office, Public Works Department
Budget: Estimated: 5.4 billion Taiwan Dollars (around €140 million)
Program: Total 58,658 m2. One 1,500-seat theatre and two 800-seat theatres
Height: 63 m
Design Architect: OMA
Partners: Rem Koolhaas, David Gianotten
Project Team CA phase:
Project Director: Chiaju Lin
Associates: Inge Goudsmit, Daan Ooievaar
Design Team: Kevin Mak, Han Kuo, Vincent Kersten
Architect of Record: Kris Yao Architects
Partners-in-charge: Kris Yao, Willy Yu
Consultants: Arup, dUCKS scéno, Inside Outside, DHV, ABT, with local collaborators: Evergreen Consulting Engineering Inc, Heng Kai Inc, IS Leng and Associates Engineers, Creative Solution Integration Ltd., Taiwan Fire Safety Consulting, Ltd., CDC Inc, Chroma33, Segreene Design and Consulting, Everest Engineering Consultants, Inc., Sino Geotech
Main construction: International Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd(former general contractor) / Sun-Sea Construction Co. LTD. (façade continuous construction) / Ancang Construction Co. LTD. (interior continuous construction)
Theater equipment: L&K Engineering Co. LTD. / IX Co. LTD. / JR Clancy