Kaohsiung’s world-class Weiwuying arts center profiled by NY Times

National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, also known as Weiwuying, has raised the cultural prestige of the southern Taiwan city and given local people a community-friendly space, according to an article published Jan. 29 in The New York Times.

Headlined In Taiwan, an Invitation to a 'Living Room' for Culture, the report said the NT$10.7 billion (US$348 million) facility is popular with locals who use public areas for dance classes, practicing yoga and watching the sunset. As the world's largest performing arts center under one roof, NKCA has become a new venue for world-renowned acts in Kaohsiung, the article added.

Attention was paid to the center's form and function so that performance spaces are large enough to accommodate global acts but are also designed to create a sense of intimacy, the newspaper said. For example, NKCA's 1,981-person concert hall, which was built in vineyard style�a first for Taiwan�has the audience surrounding all sides of the stage on seating that rises like sloping terraces.

According to Weiwuying, following its grand opening last October, the facility has attracted the attention of several major global media outlets including British newspaper The Guardian. Attendance averaged over 80 percent for the first season of shows last year, while upcoming performances such as Turandot, which it is co-producing with German opera company Deutsche Oper am Rhein, sold out within two weeks, it added.

NKCA�southern Taiwan's first national theater�is committed to hosting the world's best performing arts shows and international talent, the center said, adding it will also continue encouraging local residents to make use of public spaces.

Designed by Dutch architect Francine Houben, the NKCA houses Asia's biggest organ with 9,085 pipes, as well as an outdoor theater on the roof.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)