In Taipei, OMA experiments with a new type of centre for the performing arts.
Why have the most exciting theatrical events of the past 100 years taken place outside the spaces formally designed for them? Can architecture transcend its own dirty secret, the inevitability of imposing limits on what is possible?
In recent years, the world has seen a proliferation of performance centres that, according to a mysterious consensus, consist of a more or less identical combination: a 2000-seat auditorium, a 1500-seat theatre and a black box. Overtly iconic external forms disguise conservative internal workings based on 19thcentury practice (and symbolism: balconies as evidence of social stratification). Although the essential elements of theatre — stage, proscenium and auditorium — are more than 3,000 years old, there is no excuse for contemporary stagnation. The Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) takes the opposite approach: experimentation in the internal workings of the theatre, producing (without being conceived as such) the external presence of an icon.
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