If there are truths to be found in architecture, one must be that building cultural centers in urban environments adds value to the area. Think of New York's Lincoln Center, or Centre Pompidou in Paris, and how they've not only become landmarks to be visited (and photographed) but also an integral part of the city's social vibrancy—which makes the news of the Taiwan's National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts so exciting. It's not simply because the structure was recently completed (although finishing a 1.5-million-square-foot building is no easy feat), but rather the fact that's completion has set a new record for the largest performing arts center on the planet.
Designed by the Dutch-based firm Mecanoo, the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts is a curved steel structure that sinuously integrates five separate state of the art performance spaces, which, in total, cover a total interior space of 1.5 million square feet (or 35 acres). The building has become home to a 2,260-seat opera house, a 2,000-seat concert hall (which will contain the largest pipe organ ever built in Asia), a 1,254-seat theater for dance and/or opera performances, and a 470-seat recital hall.
The cultural center, which was built on the site of a former military base, will take up over 5 million square feet of land, which means outside of the building, within the subtropical setting, an outdoor performance space will have no issue containing an audiences of up to 20,000. It's likely the cultural center will need as much space as possible, since it appears that some of the most prestigious orchestras in the world are lined up to come perform in the new space. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, under Gustavo Dudamel, will be among the first artists to put on a show. But it doesn't end there: Major international collaborative partners so far include New York’s Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival, Singapore International Festival of Arts, and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, to name a few. The global list of high-profile performances proves the ethos of a cultural center—that boundaries simply do not exist around them (even if Taiwan's National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts happens to have the world's largest borders).