National Taichung Theatre

Structural Designer

Arup

Client Name

Taichung City Government

Location

Taichung, Taiwan

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR: Lee Ming Construction Co.   

ARCHITECT: Toyo Ito & Associates

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Taichung National Theater is one of the most structural ambitious spaces constructed in recent decades. The main structure, a free-form, doubly curved, reinforced concrete shell, is a single continuous surface. It is an innovative combination of a sophisticated construction technology and local knowledge and craftsmanship. Taiwan has the highest seismic loads, and the engineering team used advanced analysis and optimisation processes to deliver a robust structural design and a highly optimised structure to keep the project on budget.

Judge's comment:

The Taichung National Theatre houses an opera house with 2009 seats, a playhouse with 800 seats and a small theatre space with 160 seats. Its construction has transformed Taichung through the creation of a cultural hub in the city.

The free-form, doubly-curved, reinforced concrete shell is an astonishing built form, unlike any other, with its sweeping curves and folds. A new construction method was developed to achieve this, allowing complex forms to be constructed off site and then brought together on site without the need for traditional form-work. As the site is severely seismic, the engineers employed methods of analysis more commonly used for nuclear power stations.

This is a tour de force of engineering, using advanced analytical techniques to deliver a building that that will undoubtedly inspire people who experience its complex and unexpected form in pursuit of culture.