Yuan Ze University
The world-known Spanish architect, engineer and artist, Santiago Calatrava was recently commissioned by Yuan Ze University in Taiwan to design an ambitious new building complex for its campus. The ambitious project, which will consist of a Performing Arts Center, a new Art and Design School and the Y.Z. Hsu Memorial Hall, which is dedicated to the University’s founder, Mr. Yu-Ziang Hsu, will mark Calatrava’s architectural debut in the country.
The Performing Arts Center will house a 1,200 seat concert hall and a 500 seat theater that can be used for both traditional and experimental performances. Situated adjacent to the main campus entrance, Calatrava’s three buildings will serve as a gateway to the University’s cultural contribution to education and arts. In addition, it will provide the region with a beautiful new landmark. It is also expected to significantly boost northern Taiwan’s educational endeavors on an international scale.
“In order for this multi-functional complex to serve as a pillar of growth for the University and act as a bridge to the surrounding community, the design must be sensitive to the deep cultural history that is prevalent throughout Taiwan“, said Santiago Calatrava. “Yuan Ze University has already contributed greatly to Taiwan’s cultural enrichment through the leadership of its board of trustees and I wanted to build upon this“.
Calatrava chose to explore new formal and spatial themes found within the local art and architecture. The Performing Arts building, which sits at the center of the complex, is defined by a dramatic curving roof that evokes traditional Chinese/Taiwanese architecture. At its base are the Y.Z. Hsu Memorial and Art and the Design School. Like temples surrounded by water, their forms are expressed through steel ribs that form each building’s roof.
“Indeed we are deeply impressed and moved by the special attention Santiago Calatrava has paid to his first project in Asia“, said Douglas Tong Hsu, Chairman and CEO of Yuan Ze University. “He truly shows the uniqueness of the three buildings with different characters and creates an intriguing special experience. While each building would need to fulfill its exceptional functions, the ingenious arrangement of the complex has somehow cohered the activities all together. Coexisting with the water and to the green that surround the site, it is truly a sustainable and innovative design, meeting the requirements of the Performing Art Center, the Art School and the Memorial“.
The new building complex at Yuan Ze University is one of several educational structures that Calatrava is currently working on. In Italy, the famed architect is overseeing his masterplan for the University of Rome Tor Vergata’s campus, while in the United States, construction is starting on Calatrava’s masterplan for the University of South Florida Polytechnic’s new campus.
Project: Yuan Ze University
Architect: Santiago Calatrava