Education buildings for Yuan Ze University are first buildings in Taiwan for Calatrava
These serene images have just been released of Santiago Calatrava’s first project in Asia: a Performing Arts Center, Art and Design School, and Y.Z. Hsu Memorial Hall at the Yuan Ze University campus in Taiwan. Currently at the concept design stage, it is hoped that the ambitious scheme will boost northern Taiwan’s appeal to students both on a national and international basis.
Calatrava was inspired by shapes and styles found in Taiwanese art and architecture for this project, an endeavour that has delighted Douglas Tong Hsu, Chairman and CEO of Yuan Ze University: “Indeed we are deeply impressed and moved by the special attention Santiago Calatrava has paid to his first project in Asia. He truly shows the uniqueness of the three buildings with different characters and creates an intriguing special experience. While each building would need to fulfil its exceptional functions, the ingenious arrangement of the complex has somehow cohered the activities all together.”
The largest of the three volumes will house a Performing Arts Center, with the Art and Design School and memorial to the University’s founder at the base. Within the main Performing Arts Center will be a 1,200-seat concert hall and a 500-seat theatre for use by students for a variety of classic and experimental productions. Arcing over this generous building will be a curving roof influenced by traditional Chinese and Taiwanese architecture whilst the smaller Art and Design school boasts the exposed steel ribs so often found in Calatrava’s architectural compositions.
The architect explains: “In order for this multi-functional complex to serve as a pillar of growth for the University and act as a bridge to the surrounding community, the design must be sensitive to the deep cultural history that is prevalent throughout Taiwan. Yuan Ze University has already contributed greatly to Taiwan’s cultural enrichment through the leadership of its board of trustees and I wanted to build upon this.”
Calatrava recently left an expansion project for Denver International Airport after financial disagreements and was replaced by Gensler and Anderson Mason Dale who are to continue with a slightly altered version of the original concept. This transition spawned a rousing comment piece from our US Correspondent Sharon McHugh on solidarity between architects which can be viewed here.