Fri, Jul 25, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Taipei invites architects to theater design contest

CULTURAL LANDMARK The city is holding a contest for top architects to design a theater to provide local artists with a venue for shows that run for three to six months

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City Government said yesterday it would invite world-renowned architects to join a competition to design a world-class theater near Shilin Night Market that would serve as a venue for large and long-running performances.

The 2.2-hectare Taipei Performing Arts Center will be built on Chengde Road across the Jiantan MRT Station. It will house a 1,500-seat theater and two smaller 800-seat theaters, Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs said.

Hoping to make the center a distinctive cultural landmark on a scale similar to the National Theater and the National Concert Hall, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the city would allocate NT$4.3 billion (US$140 million) for the project and begin an international design competition to find the best design by next year.

About 15 percent of the budget will be awarded to the winning team, chosen by a committee headed by Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, the department said.

“We are confident the project will attract the interest of several of the world’s top 10 architect,” Hau said during a press conference at Taipei City Hall yesterday.

“We want the best team, and the city government will give the architects all the creative freedom to complete their work,” Hau said.

Department commissioner Lee Yong-ping (李永萍) said the lack of large performing centers have been a major challenge for the country’s performing arts groups as they struggle to find a venue that can accommodate regular performances that run for more than two weeks.

Lee said the Taipei Performing Arts Center, which is scheduled to start construction in 2010 and open to the public by 2013, will allow performing groups to hold regular shows that run from three to six months.

“We expect the center to help with the development of local performing groups and build up Taipei’s image as a cultural city,” she said.

The city government will also invite international architectural teams to design two other cultural facilities — the Taipei Pop Music Center and Taipei City Museum, Lee said.

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