Toyo Ito’s Metropolitan Opera House has opened in Taichung, Taiwan. The Japanese architect’s latest project was ten years in the making, with designs revealed in 2006 and construction beginning in 2009.
The six-story complex is 624,000 square feet in size and features a 2,014-seat grand theater, an 800-seat theater, and a 200-seat black box theater, as well as rehearsal spaces and a restaurant. From an engineering perspective, the building is architecturally complex, erected entirely without beams or columns. It relies on 58 curved wall units to achieve its grand, curved interiors. Support for its construction was donated by the city government to the Ministry of Culture in Taiwan, according to Taipei Times.
“I aimed to create the architecture of this opera house in such a way that the inside and outside are continuous in a like manner to how bodies are connected to nature through organs such as the mouth, nose, and ears,” Ito told Domus.
Ito has earned numerous awards for his designs, including a Pritzker Prize in 2013, and a Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture in 2014. The International Museum of the Baroque, designed by Ito, opened in Puebla, Mexico earlier this year.
The National Audit Office in Taipei stated that the Metropolitan Opera House will likely run at an annual deficit of $4.7 million, according to Taipei Times. In response, vice supervisor for the theater’s promotional affairs Lin Chia-feng called the government’s focus on “profits and losses” a “narrow approach.”
“The theater also has a mission of assisting and fostering the development of local and national performance troupes,” Lin said.