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Taichung Metropolitan Opera House
Toyo Ito & Associates

March 13, 2006 /

Taichung City, Taiwan

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Photo courtesy Taichung City

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.

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Photo courtesy Taichung City
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Photo courtesy Taichung City
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Photo courtesy Taichung City

Architecture has to follow the diversity of society, and has to reflect that a simple square or cube can't contain that diversity

/Toyo Ito

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.

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Photo courtesy Taichung City
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Photo courtesy Taichung City
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.

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Photo courtesy Taichung City
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Photo courtesy Taichung City
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.

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Photo courtesy Taichung City
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.

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Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito AssociatesGrand Theater Section
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Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito AssociatesPlayhouse Sectiontaichung_12.jpg
Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito AssociatesBlack Box Section
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.

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Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito AssociatesGrand Theater Plan

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Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito AssociatesPlayhouse Plan

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Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito AssociatesBlack Box Plan
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."
The jury

Facts about Taichung Metropolitan Opera House

Site Area:

57,685 m2
Floor Area: 43,264 m2

Architects:
Toyo Ito & Associates

Structural Engineering:

Arup

Mechanical Engineer:

Arup

Client:

Taichung City

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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