Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects shared with us their proposal for the Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural and Popular Music Center, an international competition that finds its inspiration in the vibrancy of Kaohsiung City and its maritime culture, and in the energy and phenomenon of popular music. More images and architect’s description after the break.
The Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural and Popular Music Center is not shy. Like a giant vessel moored at the quay, the Center announces and guards the mouth of the Love River and is a gateway to Kaohsiung City and the nation. Both preposterous and appropriate, the Center is the icon, the scenic landmark.
The concept is that of a dynamic, vertical-horizontal public space—a twenty-four-hour attraction. Both day and night, the reflective mirror effect of the Love River and Kaohsiung Harbor double the presence of the complex. By day the Center is an iconic silhouette against the Kaohsiung sky and by night a luminous showplace, an animated marquee on a grand scale.
The two major components of the program, the Pop Music Center and the Marine Culture Exhibit Center, are deployed on either side of the mouth of the Love River and joined by a Connective Structure. The larger of the two components, the Pop Music Center, on the east side of the river, is held in check at the wharf by the “tugboat effect” of the Marine Culture Exhibit Center on the west and by the tow / tension line of the Connective Structure spanning between. The complex sits strategically at the most visually prominent location on the Love River. A slight bend in the river just north of the site exposes the Pop Music Center tower to the cityscape to the north. By water from the Port of Kaohsiung, the approach is spectacular. Views from the Pop Music Center fix the project definitively in Kaohsiung City and on Taiwan Strait.
By aggregating program elements vertically and positioning them tight against both sides of the mouth of the Love River, approximately eighty-seven percent of the site is reserved as open park space for public use or for future expansion / development. In conjunction with the existing parks to the southeast and southwest, a substantial green swath nurtures the river’s mouth and provides a revitalized water’s edge for the people of Kaohsiung City and their visitors.
Although the site is strictly and technically defined in the program, the actual site for performance and public interface includes the waterways of the Love River and Kaohsiung Harbor and the surrounding cityscape. The entire district around the Maritime Cultural and Popular Music Center, whether earth or water, is party to the celebration of popular music and performance and the land-ocean juncture.
Of particular note is the unique expansive flexibility that the building, the site, the waterways and the city offer for performance. The Large Performance Hall and the Outdoor Performance Area / Performance Plaza may be used separately and simultaneously or joined together. Their joint use creates the possibility for inventive new performance potentials with audience capacities ranging from 3,500 people to as many as 17,000. This number increases substantially when the performance is seen by any number of boats in the Harbor and people gathered at Performance Prospect. A floating stage or barge extending from the south stage aperture expands the stage once again, this time for marine performance possibilities. On the land side, the city participates in the Center events via large projections on the Music Box facades.