Art lovers protected by giant funnels in Taiwan
Dadong Art Centre in Taiwan uses membrane roofing and funnels to deflect extreme weather
The city of Kaohsiung is known as the economic hub of southern Taiwan. Now, it also has some arts to boast about. Three stops on the metro from Mecanoo’s forthcoming Wei-Wu-Ying Centre for the Arts – which should complete in 2015 – is the newly-opened Dadong Art Centre.
This is a joint effort between Dutch practice de Architekten Cie and local firm MAYU. It includes an 800-seat theatre, an art education centre, an exhibition hall, a conference hall, a library and administration offices.
The architects are particularly pleased with the outside space, because, let's face it, that’s what matters most to the locals. “The intensive use of public space by activities such as dance, Tai-Chi and various games characterises outdoor use in Taiwanese cities,” says MAYU. To accommodate these activities, it and de Architekten Cie have created a membrane roof to shelter visitors from the city’s extreme climatic conditions of typhoons, heavy rain and scorching summer heat.
This membrane is formed into 11 vast funnels. It’s clear how the tunnels can keep the sun at bay - hot air is drawn up though the insides, naturally ventilating the area - but less obvious what their benefit is when it rains. The answer is hidden underground. During heavy rain, some of the downward pointing funnels channel water down into concealed springs, letting it drain away naturally.
If anyone can drag themselves inside, they’ll find light and airy spaces with views towards the historic Feng-Shan city, a major park, and the Feng-Shan River through the diamond shapes cut out of the pale concrete facades.
In terms of the Art Centre’s actual performance rooms, the theatre and small rehearsal room are the focal point, and are clad in wood and perforated metal. For more examples of beautiful, interesting and innovative buildings employing concrete check out our book called, ahem, Concrete.