Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural & Popular Music Center International Competition

An acceleration of evolution of contemporary typologies has been taken place over the past years, particular in Asia and Middle East, and they have transformed our understanding of the city and the architecture within: Mixed-Use, Urban Theme Parks, Boutique Buildings have replaced the modernist notion of segregation and separation of programs and structures of the city and created an urban melange, which changes the scale and the content of the city.

The contemporary city is a more blurred and hybrid environment, where programming becomes the driving force for the architecture as well as the urbanism. Architecture as a craft of tectonics has become more and more irrelevant, instead serves as a spectacle and iconic expression of the urban skylines. Instead, the program and the programmatic mix is more vital to the feasibility of a project, that any design. As the scales of the projects have been increased to city-within-city size, the 'right mix' is determined by the right business plan, the right combination of program. Often, they result in a difficult to understand mix. One of those, which have potential to transform the understanding of how we use the city, was the Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural & Popular Music Center International Competition.

The project was aiming to combine various cultural programs with no obvious relation into an urban theme park. For us, the challenge lies in the question, how the city can benefit from a project like this. How can the place create an identity beyond the destination programs (pop music and museum) and how can it perform as a positive space, which uses the brief to create synergies with the context and creates new connections for the city.

Located at the edge of the city center, it is part of the neglected waterfront, which undergoes a rapid transformation from a shipping port to a leisure and entertainment zone for the city. As the port separated the city from the water, our intervention aims to use the brief to connect the city to the water, by offering an urbanized landscape, that introduces hollow landscapes with park above and program below it.

The only visual existence of an iconic structure is a rather 'technical' tower, that serves the outdoor pop music arena as lighting and media tower, sound and stage control room, VIP lounge as well as a pedestrian connection over the water.

Team: Ulrich Kirchhoff, Louise Low, Claudia Wigger, Keith Chung, Tim Mao, Christopher Tan
© 2010, ice - ideas for contemporary environments