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Toyo Ito for Taichung Metropolitan Opera House


Irregular geometries give the structure a continuous fluidity

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03/03/2006 - Toyo Ito is the winner of the architecture competition for the Opera House to build in Taichung, Taiwan. 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. Located in a park within a dense urban high-rise development, the Sound Cave is not only interior, but connects seamlessly with the outside, merging with the surrounding park and creating a place of communication between people. While a main entrance is strategically placed at the end of the green axis, between the New City Council and Government buildings, the building has more than one front, inviting people from several sides into a labyrinthine network of diverse spaces. The spatial complexity is based on a few simple geometric rules. A membrane between two surfaces is divided into alternating zones A and B. As the surfaces are pulled apart, two continuous spaces A and B evolve, separated by the curvilinear membrane. Repeating this process once more on top of the first, two horizontally and vertically continuous spaces A and B emerge between this one continuous membrane. In order to accommodate the spatial and volumetric needs the underlying geometric grid is locally transformed while maintaining its global integrity. This emerging grid is one of fluid relations rather than fixed absolutes.

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