With a short list of ambitious designs by Akihisa Hirata, Studio Gang Architects, Yves Bachmann and this featured design by Mack Scogin Merill Elam Architects (MSMEA), its fair to say the Kaohsiung City Public Works Bureau did not have an easy choice to make when they decided on a final design for the Kaohsiung Maritime Culture and Popular Music Center. Although MADE IN’s design was ultimately chosen for the Center, many of these other entries are still worth their mention.

With possibly the most “out there” design for the Center, MSMEA sought to create a 24 hour, iconic attraction for Kaohsiung. The eclectic design for the larger component, the Pop Music Center, and the concept for the Center as a whole for that matter is “founded in the vibrancy of Kaohsiung City and its maritime culture, and in the energy and phenomenon of popular music”.

The two main components, the Pop Music center and the Marine Culture Exhibit Center are placed on either side of the Love River and joined by a bridge spanning the mouth of the river.

Of the positioning they said “The Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural and Popular Music Center is not shy. Like a giant vessel moored at the quay, the Center announces and guards the mouth of the Love River and is a gateway to Kaohsiung City and the nation”.

But the placement of the Center is not only to create a cultural landmark for the city, the placement also allows for the remaining 87% of the site to be reserved as open public park space. This would connect to existing surrounding parks and provide a pleasant waterfront for residents and visitors alike.

MSMEA also wanted to create a flexible space to accommodate the various types of performances and events that would be held at the Center. By separating various components, MSMEA created the possibility for audience capacities ranging from as little as 3,500 to as many as 17,000. Floating stages and barges allow for marine performances.

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