Located in a park within a dense urban high-rise development, in the city of Taichung, the Metropolitan Opera House once completed, will be a landmark and a unique state of the art 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.
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.
The main structure is of more than 50 curved wall, generating a maze and interlocking reinforcement steel bar cages and steel trusses. Applying concrete has been so difficult that the contractor decide to apply shot-Crete as the most efficient way of placing concrete over the curved surfaces.
Shot-Crete was placed over a temporary steel framework, assembled and fixed with metal mesh, expanding between the framework providing shot Crete a surface to adhere and serving as a back stopper for concrete. This system was selected over double curved framework that could result on a higher price construction activity and will push back the construction termination date.
The Taichung Metropolitan Opera House was design to include sustainable concepts in three main areas. The first one is dedicated to rainwater. Rainwater of the roof will be collected, filtered and used for landscape purposes while grey water will be processed to be used in toilets.
The building has also been designed to use recyclable eco-materials, like steel and concrete, that could be recycled eventually if the building needs to be reconstructed. Ito has incorporated this concept into the design to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and with the idea to reduce global warming, while making people aware of the importance of sustainable materials.
Architect Ito considered in his design concept that will help alleviate energy consumption during the day such as innovative shading techniques. The landscape was design to reduce load inside the building by generating shades and using evaporating water surrounding the building.
Location: Taichung, Taiwan
Architect: Toyo Ito
Company building: Lee Ming Construction
Area: 620,000 square feet
End construction: 2015
Photographs: Lou James
Article by Marco Rinaldi