New York — An exhibition marking the successful completion of RUR Architecture’s Taipei Music Center (TMC), a new musical district within Taipei, is set to open at Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture on April 6, 2022. Designed by the project’s architects and featuring mural-sized photographs, architectural models, drawings, and audiovisual media, the exhibition explores the relationship of the complex’s architecture to the process of its design, current use, Taiwan’s music industry, and the nation’s cosmopolitan ambitions.
The exhibition was sparked by the invitation of Dean Nader Tehrani, who competed against RUR for the project over ten years ago. More than inaugurate the project for an American audience, the exhibition is designed to draw insightful relationships between its American architectural origins and adoption into Taiwanese culture, and to highlight the inevitable changes that took place during its long gestation and development.
The cosmopolitan and regional ambitions of the Taipei Music Center—to cultivate Taiwanese music for a global audience—necessitated an architecture that spoke equally to local and foreign cultures. Rejecting the placeless, generic, and techno-centric architectural styles that have plagued many post-industrial cities, we were also wary of their oftentimes monstrous hybridization with vernacular styles, a trend known as “critical regionalism.”
Against either approach, we sought to employ specific iconographic elements that spoke universally across cultures and were part of a larger social unconscious—mountainous terrain, ceramics, basket weaving, and clam shells—as communicated through the three object buildings of the Taipei Music Center. As all sentient being, including animals, crave sugar, fat, and salt, the project thereby appeals beyond specific cultural milieus toward innate, primordial appetites. Similarly, the Taipei Music Center seems both regionally specific yet globally relatable, appearing in concert with its immediate environment though appealing to global audiences and designed by foreign architects. The uncanny effects of certain symmetries and forms evoke universal feelings of attraction and unease, against the sugary utopianism of the last century.
The TMC was conceived as a ‘City of Pop Music’, a hybrid and multipurpose site dedicated to the performance, curation,production, and celebration of pop music in Asia. For more than half a century, Taiwan enjoys the leading position of popular Mandarin Songs in the Chinese speaking countries and the world because its democratic society favors openness, diversities and freedom to creativities. The Music Center is to continue that legacy and welcome everyone to enjoy “Music is Life, Living Music.” The center has three major buildings: The Concert Hall, the Cultural Cube, and the Creative Hub. A new elevated public ground bridges the north and south bases which are divided by Civic Boulevard, bringing the three buildings together in a coherent design. The building program also includes four livehouses, which allow for simultaneous performances and support new talent with intimate concerts. Since the Concert Hall’s grand opening back in August 2020, the TMC has hosted a variety of high-profile musical and cultural events, including the inaugural concert of Yo-Yo Ma’s Asian tour and the Golden Melody Awards. Taiwan’s Golden Melody Awards is inclusive and is been considered as the Grammy Awards of popular Mandarin Songs. Following the emergence of the Concert Hall, the Cultural Cube also launched its permanent exhibition “Music, Island, Stories: Pop Music in Taiwan” last September, taking visitors on an immersive and interactive journey to learn about how Taiwan’s music industry has evolved over the decades. The Creative Hub, on the other hand, is scheduled to start operation later this year to act as an integrating cradle for new music talents and a cluster for music-themed lifestyles. The TMC project as a whole has gained immense popularity for advertisers and on social media, frequently playing backdrop for car commercials, emerging music groups, and Instagram models—an unanticipated consequence of the TMC’s architecture which will also be highlighted in the exhibition.
In advance of the exhibition opening, a lecture, panel discussion, and musical performance will be held in Cooper Union’s Great Hall at 6:30 pm on April 6, 2022. For details and register to attend the opening HERE
Lyrical Urbanism is made possible by Dean Nader Tehrani, the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, The Cooper Union, The Taipei Cultural Center in New York, The Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, The Taipei Music Center, and Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown.
Lyrical Urbanism: The Taipei Music Center
April 7-29, 2022
the Cooper Union, Foundation Building, Fl 3, Located at 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues
New York, NY 10003www.cooper.edu/architecture/events-and-exhibitions
About Reiser + Umemoto, RUR Architecture DPCwww.reiser-umemoto.com
Reiser+Umemoto, RUR Architecture is an internationally recognized architecture office and design atelier. Since its founding in 1986 by principals Jesse Reiser (FAIA, FAAR) and Nanako Umemoto, the firm has remained at the forefront of contemporary architectural design through its built and speculative projects, critical writings, workshops, lectures, teaching, and mentorship.
In 2010, the firm was awarded first prize for the Taipei Music Center and the Kaohsiung Port Terminal in Taiwan, both of which began construction in 2013. The Taipei Music Center was completed in 2021, and the Kaohsiung Port Terminal is expected to be completed in 2022. O-14, a 22-story exoskeletal office tower in Dubai, was completed in 2012 and has since received numerous international honors, including an AIA Design Award, the Concrete Industry Board’s 2009 Award of Merit, the American Council of Engineering Companies’ 2009 Diamond Award, and the 10 Year Award of Excellence by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
In 2006, Reiser+Umemoto published the Atlas of Novel Tectonics, widely recognized as an essential work of contemporary architectural theory. The firm’s first comprehensive monograph, Projects and Their Consequences, was published in 2019, tracing thirty years of innovative, multidisciplinary investigations of form, structure, technique, and planning.
Awards and honors include the Chrysler Award for Excellence in Design, the Academy Award in Architecture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Citation and John Hejduk Award from the Cooper Union, and the USA Booth Fellowship from United States Artists for Architecture & Design.
About Taipei Music Centerhttps://tmc.taipei/en/
Taipei Music Center opened on September 2020. The first site in Taiwan created for and wholly dedicated to musics in Taiwan, the center contains a Concert Hall accommodating up to 5,000 people, a Cultural Hall presenting the history of popular music in Taiwan, and a Creative Hub which serve as an incubator for young musical talents. The construction is funded by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture and executed by Taipei City Government. Kay Huang is appointed by the Mayor of Taipei City the chairperson of the board of the TMC.
Susan Grant Lewin Associates
Kate Robertson firstname.lastname@example.org
Taipei Cultural Center in New York
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The Taipei Music Center. Photograph courtesy Reiser+Umemoto, RUR Architecture, Yana Zhezhela & Alek Vatagin, photographers.