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A recent ground breaking marked the start of what will be the largest cultural complex in Asia. The Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts, which is located in the main park of Kaohsiung, Southern Taiwan, is 141,000 sq meters and features a number of large theaters, including a concert hall, opera hall, playhouse, recital hall, library and studios for music and dance. The project was largely invested in by the Taiwanese government and meant to help transform the city of Kaohsiung from a port town into a modern, cultural metropolis.

The cultural center will sit in the northeast corner of the metropolitan park of Kaohsiung, which is a major green belt for the city. Before being turned into a park, the area was once a military complex of 65 hectares. The park is made up of many slopes and valleys, with water pools dotting the landscape. Pathways meander about leading to a botanical garden, a bamboo grove, a playground, a tea pavilion and a butterfly garden.

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The Netherland’s firm Mecanoo, led by Architect Francine Houben, designed the cultural center, and modeled it after the park and the many banyan trees found within. Banyan trees which have wide, strong trunks and large, shady canopies cover the park, providing a cooler and shadier landscape for park visitors. The center itself consists of a large undulating roof with many open public spaces below supported with strong support columns, meant to resemble the banyan tree. Air can easily circulate, providing natural ventilation and a cool respite for visitors to stroll around, practice Tai Chi or meditate.

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Inside the cultural center contains a concert hall with 2,000 seats, an opera house with 2,250 seats, a theater hall with 1,250 seats and a Recital Hall with 500 seats. Taiwan hopes that with the revitalization of the military complex into a beautiful urban park, plus the addition of the cultural center, Kaohsiung will become “multifaceted city with a state-of-the-art service industry and a rich cultural life.”

+ Mecanoo

Via ArchDaily

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