16 February 2012
Taipei Performing Arts Center breaks ground today
Rem Koolhaas explains TPAC

Construction begins today on the OMA-designed Taipei Performing Arts Center in Taipei, Taiwan. President Ma Ying-jeou, together with Mayor Hau Lung-pin, representatives from the Taipei City Government, OMA, and local design partner Artech Architects will take part in the groundbreaking ceremony. For a city passionate about theatre, TPAC is a new kind of venue - adaptable, efficient, and intimately connected with the urban fabric.

The design of TPAC, comprising a 1,500-seat theatre and two 800-seat theatres, is the result of investigation into the internal workings of theatre. Plugged into a central cube clad in corrugated glass, each theatre shares backstage space and mechanical facilities. Two of the three theatres can be combined into a Super Theatre with a 60-metre long stage for experimental new forms of theatre.

Lifted from the ground, the central cube allows the street to extend both under and up into the building, drawing people into a public loop where backstage workings that are normally hidden from view - rehearsals, technical spaces - are made visible. TPAC aims to let the audience experience new elements of theatrical production at the same time as inviting a broader public to engage with the performing arts.

OMA's Partners-in-charge of the project, Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten, will be present at the groundbreaking together with Managing Partner Victor van der Chijs. The entire TPAC team, led by Associate-in-charge Adam Frampton, also attended the ceremony, joined by Artech Architects Founder - Architect Kris Yao, Senior Partner - Architect Willy Yu, and the Artech team.

Rem Koolhaas comments: "The flexible configurations of the theatres allow unimagined scenarios, incessantly stimulating theatrical experiments."

David Gianotten remarks: "TPAC engages a wide public not only by providing spaces for performances, but also through exposing parts of the backstage to the public. The general public will have a glimpse of performing arts production and a new theatrical experience."

Associate-in-charge Adam Frampton notes: "The premise of the design is to combine three theatres into more than the sum of their parts. Similarly, the collaboration between the Taipei City Government, international and local architects, engineers, and specialists has yielded a collective result exceeding individual potential."
OMA won the competition for Taipei Performing Arts Center in January 2009 after beating 135 entries from 24 countries. Completion of the project is expected in 2015 with an estimated construction budget of 5.4 billion Taiwan dollars (about €140 million).

Currently, OMA's offices in Hong Kong and Beijing are also overseeing the completion this year of CCTV's new headquarters in Beijing and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange; Chu Hai College of Higher Education in Hong Kong will be completed in 2013.