Taichung Metropolitan Opera House
The fluid continuity of the structure reflects the idea that the theatrical arts are spatial arts which combine the body, art, music, and performance.
While providing optimum settings for traditional Eastern and Western types of performances, the design by Ito moves beyond the constraints of a traditional Opera House.
The design is an open structure which actively engages its surroundings in all directions and creates opportunities for myriad encounters between high art and popular art, artists and visitors, stage and auditorium, interior and exterior. Ito calls this space the Sound Cave.
|Architecture has to follow the diversity of society, and has to reflect that a simple square or cube can’t contain that diversity|
The Sound Cave is both a horizontally and vertically continuous network. Even before entering one of the three theatres, the Sound Cave is perceived as a fascinating and flexible “acoustic space,” which, in three dimensions, connects Arts Plaza, workshops, foyers, restaurants etc.
Located in a park within a dense urban high-rise development, the Sound Cave is not only interior, but connects seamlessly with the outside, merging with the surrounding park and creating a place of communication between people.
Neurone-like networks of water and greenery continue in the park integrating the building in its urban surroundings. This kind of networks, of water and greenery, are similar to a structural model of Taichung City itself.
While a main entrance is strategically placed at the end of the green axis, between the New City Council and Government buildings, the building has more than one front, inviting people from several sides into a labyrinthine network of diverse spaces.
The spatial complexity is based on a few simple geometric rules. A membrane between two surfaces is divided into alternating zones A and B. As the surfaces are pulled apart, two continuous spaces A and B evolve, separated by the curvilinear membrane.
Repeating this process once more on top of the first, two horizontally and vertically continuous spaces A and B emerge between this one continuous membrane.
In order to accommodate the spatial and volumetric needs the underlying geometric grid is locally transformed while maintaining its global integrity. This emerging grid is one of fluid relations rather than fixed absolutes.
The Taichung Metropolitan Opera House will seat 2,009 in the Grand Theater, 800 in a Playhouse, and 200 in the Black Box.
The Black Box, an experimental stage, forms an intimate environment suitable for a small theater. The wide space around the theater provides the theater with exceptional flexibility. For even greater versatility the space can be connected to the rooftop terrace. The project will also include an art workshop, an art market, an operation department and a parking area.
Toyo Ito was presented with the RIBA Gold Medal in February 2006.
“Winner Toyo Ito is architecture’s impossible dreamer who takes every project in a new direction.”