NTT ar­chi­tect Toyo Ito once at­tended an open-air con­cert while trav­el­ing in Por­tu­gal. There he ex­pe­ri­enced a true meld­ing of per­for­mance and au­di­ence cap­tur­ing the joy of music as rit­ual. In­spired by this lively oc­ca­sion, Ito crafted “ar­chi­tec­ture that can be lis­tened to.” From its con­tours to the in­ter­con­nect­ing sound caves and aper­tures, his de­sign al­lows the arts to flow freely through­out the fa­cil­ity, be­com­ing part of daily life.

In Ito’s mind, the NTT’s ex­te­rior is an “or­ganic” space far sur­pass­ing ar­chi­tec­ture’s con­ven­tional lines and squares. Using non-geo­met­ri­cal lines from na­ture, Ito aims to rekin­dle human power and cre­ativ­ity long in­hib­ited by geo­met­ric spaces. Thus, un­du­lat­ing curved walls un­fold into sonorous spaces large and small, where nat­ural trans­for­ma­tions awaken vis­i­tors’ senses and in­stincts. Mon­u­men­tal glass walls, along with seem­ingly bound­less in­te­rior space, fuses ex­te­rior and in­te­rior to cre­ate an open struc­ture akin to na­ture, al­low­ing light, air, water and sounds to flow freely, in­ter­twin­ing with art to tran­scend im­pres­sions of time and space.

The Na­tional Taichung The­ater (NTT) is not just a build­ing that houses a grand the­atre that stages opera. The en­tire ar­chi­tec­ture is an opera.
When you enter the lobby, foy­ers, restau­rants and the Sky Gar­den, you can feel the flow of air, sound and light. In the NTT, one is awestruck by the grandeur of a cos­mic bril­liance com­ing out of the ar­chi­tec­ture.

— Toyo Ito

Curved Walls

The world’s first build­ing with a main struc­ture sup­ported by curved walls, the NTT is marked by straight lines in its outer bound­aries. The en­tire struc­ture is com­prised of 58 curved wall units and 29 “sound caves” in vary­ing sizes, sep­a­rate yet in­ter­con­nected. Rather than con­ven­tion­ally ad­her­ing to rigid par­ti­tions, the NTT main­tains an or­ganic flu­id­ity.

Breathing Holes

Breath­ing Holes dotting the NTT’s ex­te­rior walls rep­re­sent crea­tures in na­ture that need such es­sen­tial el­e­ments as light, air and water to live. Dur­ing the day, beams of sun­light stream into the venue. At night, light from in­side the venue shines out­ward. This rep­re­sents the close con­nec­tion be­tween the NTT and the city, as they breathe to­gether.

Bottle the Art

The NTT’s façade, swathed by glass and ce­ment walls, is so evoca­tive of a wine bot­tle that Toyo Ito in fact dubbed his de­sign “Bot­tle the Art.” To him, the arts are an in­tox­i­cat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, sim­i­lar to im­bib­ing a fine vin­tage.

Water Screen System

On the curved walls in the Lobby/1F are lit­tle dots arranged like con­stel­la­tions, con­sti­tut­ing a world­wide patented water screen sys­tem from Japan. Each dot is a noz­zle. When a fire is de­tected, a thin cur­tain of water will de­scend (180 cen­time­ters in width) to block smoke and heat. The sys­tem can pre­vent fire from spread­ing and pu­rify air­borne par­tic­u­lates, en­sur­ing the ut­most safety of the open space.

Cold Fusion Flooring

Hid­den be­neath the ground floor are cold fu­sion pipes that not only lower room tem­per­a­ture ef­fec­tively but also emit cool air through the ven­ti­la­tion out­lets. Cool air re­mains at two me­ters above ground, roughly the av­er­age height of an adult, main­tain­ing a pleas­ant lobby en­vi­ron­ment.



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