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Competition: Theatre Architecture Competition 2017, Taiwan

An international ideas contest has been launched for a temporary theatre structure inside a disused sports arena in Hsinchu, Taiwan (Deadline: 17 March)

Organised by the International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT), the contest seeks proposals for a temporary ‘theatre village’ performance space inside an abandoned sports venue known as the Public Activity Centre.

The call for ideas aims to challenge conventional theatre typologies and is part of the quadrennial World Stage Design conference which opens in July in nearby Taipei. The project aims to engage the public and showcase innovation in theatre architecture by exploring options to reinvent the historic complex.

Hsinchu, Taiwan

Hsinchu, Taiwan

Public Activity Centre

According to the brief: ‘The Public Activity Centre has lost its original use as a sports stadium and fallen into disrepair, the site is now seeking a new use for this once vibrant area.

‘Competitors are encouraged to collaborate with theatre-makers to explore the complex issues arising in the design of theatre space – the geometry and atmosphere that best support the telling of stories in a live performance.’

The Hsinchu Public Activity Centre occupies the site of a former public square and was designed for basketball, volleyball and other recreational activities. Following the removal of its roof, the complex has been used as a car park and for occasional political demonstrations and outdoor athletics contests.

Hsinchu, Taiwan

Hsinchu, Taiwan

Public Activity Centre

Located around one hour’s drive from Taipei, Hsinchu is recognised as the technology centre of Taiwan and known as the ‘windy city’ because of its famous gusts of air from the South China Sea.

The city is home to the Hsinchu Science Park, National Tsing Hua University and National Chiao Tung University. Key city centre landmarks include the Hsinchu’s East Gate and the iconic City God Temple.

The OISTAT Theatre Architecture Competition was first held in Paris in 1978 and the latest contest – aimed at international students and emerging architecture practitioners – is the 10th in the series. The last call for ideas was held in 2015 and received 197 entries from 37 different countries.

The international competition jury will feature four theatre architects with one experienced theatre practitioner, and will be headed by the chair of the OISTAT architecture commission.

The overall winner is set to be announced on 28 April, and will receive a €5,000 top prize. There will also be a second prize of €2,500, third prize of €1,000 and three further prizes worth €500.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 17 March

Fee

Registration opens on 17 February and costs €50

Contact details

Szuyun Yu
OISTAT Headquarters Suite D
Center for Innovation Taipei (CIT)
No.1 Yumen Street
Taipei
10452
Taiwan

Email: archcom@oistat.org / szuyun@oistat.org
Tel: +886-2- 2596-2294 / +886-921- 178-807

View the competition website for more information

Rise case study: Q&A with Alasdair Dixon

The partner at Collective Works discusses lessons learned designing a temporary venue for the Old Vic Theatre in Waterloo Millennium Green, London

Collective Works

Collective Works

Source: Image by Mark Cocksedge

Alasdair Dixon

How did you go about creating an appropriate temporary theatre for Rise and the Old Vic?

We worked closely with the director, the producers, and the cast to make sure we understood the unusual nature of the show. The main challenges were accommodating the huge cast and choir in a highly accessible structure, all to be built in less than a week. To find a realistic solution we held design charrettes with theatre specialists, temporary structures contractors, structural engineers and set designers. The resulting design relied on a 17m scaffolding cube with 6 access points and a pitch that would rise above the stage giving the cast and choir an extra level to perform from.

Waterloo Millennium Green, London

Waterloo Millennium Green, London

Source: Image by Peter Landers

Rise by Collective Works

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness?

Due to the very temporary nature of the show we designed the theatre entirely from reusable, reclaimed or rented materials. The scaffolding structure was clad with a reusable tarpaulin of the sort normally used to clad soft-sided vehicles. Rather than traditional foundations, which would ruin the site, we relied on water ballast provided by IBCs (intermediate bulk containers), usually used for transporting liquids. We also knew the cast and crew would appreciate some branding, so we proposed and installed super graphics on the façade, taking the show’s title and applying it in 2m-high letters across each public face.

Waterloo Millennium Green, London

Waterloo Millennium Green, London

Source: Image by Peter Landers

Rise by Collective Works

What advice would you have on designing a temporary theatre for the Hsinchu Public Activity Center in Taiwan?

There’s huge potential in the existing structure, so making best use of the raked seating and integrating existing access should put an end to the unfortunate parking usage. It’s also worth bearing in mind that achieving high levels of acoustic control and blackout is challenging within temporary structures, so carefully varying the levels of enclosure for each performance space will be key. Thankfully the brief calls for unconventional stages so you can create a structure that really contributes to the performances. Lastly if your structure is designed from easily sourced or rentable components the scheme will be more adaptable and likely to find other uses. It’ll also be worth finding out about the local maker community as having their input will increase the sense of ownership and overall viability.

Waterloo Millennium Green, London

Waterloo Millennium Green, London

Source: Image by Pamela Raith

Rise by Collective Works