The National Taichung Theater: Experimenting Publicity of Metropolitan Urbanism

  • Jing XiaoEmail author


That Taichung becomes one of the leading cities in Taiwan is part of a story that is less than one century old. Historically, the plateau in the central basin of the island of Taiwan where the city is located was cultivated under the supervision of Tainan, Chiayi, and many other traditional cultural centers. Changhua, today a comparably minor city close to Taichung, was established in 1722 and dominated the region for a long time because of its good seaside location and available transportation. There was a brief bureaucratic reformation that transferred the power from Tainan to Taichung in 1887, and later further north to Taipei. This transfer led to the reconstruction of Taichung in 1889, and the new city had eight main-gate buildings with single pitched roofs that were surrounded by newly established walls.


Writing about National Taichung Theater is always difficult, not only because of the constant transitions of power since the city was built and the political agenda of the physical environment, but also because of the competing economic and administrative struggles, which have resulted in the postponement of a national project for ideological and budgetary reasons. These same reasons led the government to ‘commercialise public interests’, even at the expense of impairing long-conceived publicity and the very nature of modern cultural institutions.

However, we see exceptional contributions from various bodies to this marvellous building. Without persistence in design philosophy and fabrication technology, citizens of Taichung would have no opportunity to explore the magical caves of Jules Verne or dream within the musical palace of Alice’s wonderland. I felt like an intruder exploring its architectural qualities on my first visit, but like a close friend on my second. This change in mind-set about belonging shows the embodiment of human experience and how modern citizens can engage in social life while being inspired and motivated by artistic intervention in the built environment. I have frequented Taichung for family reasons, and when my year-and-a-half-old son stared at the musicians playing Bach in the central lobby, I know that another round of self-enlightenment has begun.


  1. Aoi, A. (2013). Changhua 1906: Urban renewal project runs the city (T. F. Chang, Trans.) (pp. 35–49). New Taipei City: Common Master Press. 青井哲人 (2013). 彰化1906: 一座城市被烙伤而后自体再生的故事. 张亭菲译. 新北: 大家出版 (pp. 35–49).Google Scholar
  2. Balmond, C. (2002) Network, Serpentine gallery Pavilion 2002: Toyo Ito with Arup,, Japan.Google Scholar
  3. Chang, J. S. (1993). The urban planning of Taiwan 1895–1988. Taipei: Chang Yung-Fa Foundation & Institute for National Policy Research & Yeqiang Publisher. 张素森 (1993). 台湾都市计划 1895–1988. 台北: 张永发基金会, 业强出版社.Google Scholar
  4. Chen, X.-Q. (2011). A historical research on the ‘urban planning act’ presented by Urban and Housing Development Committee and U.N. Advisor Group. Journal of Environment & Art, (9), 47–67 (in Chinese). 陈湘琴 (2011). 都市建设与住宅计划小组和联合国顾问团研议台湾”都市计划法”之历史研究. 环境与艺术学刊, (9), 47–67.Google Scholar
  5. Cheng, M.-Y. (2006). Work journal of the international competition of the Taichung metropolitan opera house. Taiwan Architects, 32(3), 111–112. 郑明裕 (2006), 台中大都会歌剧院竞图工作纪实, 建筑师, 32(3), 111–112.Google Scholar
  6. Davidson, J. W. (1903). Formosa under Japanese rule (p. 43). London: Japan Society. Online access via:;view=1up;seq=29, access date: 2018/05/06.
  7. Hsia, C.-J. (1994). Public space (p. 13). Taipei: Artists Press. 夏铸九 (1994). 公共空间. 台北: 艺术家出版社 (p. 13).Google Scholar
  8. Hsia, C.-J., & Peng, Y. K. (2006). The plot ratio transfer should be cautious. Chinatimes (Taiwan), A19, September 3, 2006. 夏铸九, 彭扬楷, 容积移转不可不慎. 中国时报, A19, September 3, 2006.Google Scholar
  9. Hsieh, C.-C., & Juang, H.-H. (2009). The niche characteristic of urban land use strength in Taichung city: A case study of T.D.R. Journal of Geographical Research, 51(11), 23–43. 谢琦强, 庄翰华 (2009). 台中市都市土地使用强度 “区位特性” 之研究: 以容积移转制度为例. 地理研究, 51(11), 23–43.Google Scholar
  10. Hsieh, T. C. (2014). Spotlight on Toyo Ito. Cultural Taichung Quarterly, (14), 37–39. 谢宗哲 (2014). 特写伊东丰雄. 文化台中季刊, (14), 37–39.Google Scholar
  11. Huang, W. D. (1997). Investigation and research on the history of urban planning during the Japanese occupation. Taipei: Institute for Taiwan Urban Planning. 黄武达 (1997). 日治时代台湾都市计划历程基本资料之调查与研究. 台北: 台湾都市史研究室.Google Scholar
  12. Ito, T. (2000). Blurring architecture 1971–2005 (U. Schneider, Ed.). Milan: Edizioni Charta.Google Scholar
  13. Ito, T. (2008). Generative order (T. C. Hsieh, Trans.) (pp. 354–357). Taipei: Garden City Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Jin, G. J., & Dai, J. (2010). Discussion on Taiwan transfer of development right institution. International Urban Planning, 25(4), 104–109. 金广君, 戴锏 (2010). 台湾地区容积转移制度解析. 国际城市规划, 25(4), 104–109.Google Scholar
  15. Lee, C.-L. (1980). A history of Taiwan architecture 1600–1945 (p. 246). Taipei: Peiwu Publisher. 李乾朗 (1980). 台湾建筑史 1600–1945. 台北: 北屋出版社 (p. 246).Google Scholar
  16. Lee, C.-L. (2005). Taiwan architecture in the 19th century (pp. 152–159). Taipei: Yushan Publisher. 李乾朗 (2005).十九世纪台湾建筑. 台北:玉山出版社 (pp. 152–159).Google Scholar
  17. Levinson, A. (1997). Why oppose TDRs? Transferable development rights can increase overall development. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 27(3), 283–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Otsuji, K. (1943). Reflections on Taiwan architecture. Architectural Journal of Taiwan, (15), 134. 尾辻国吉 (1943). 台湾建筑界の回顾. 台湾建筑会志, (15), 134.Google Scholar
  19. Shirakura, Y. (1943). The architectural transformation … in the new regime. Architectural Journal of Taiwan, (15), 22. 白仓好夫 (1943). 改隶以后 … 建筑的变迁. 台湾建筑会志, (15), 22.Google Scholar
  20. Tseng, D. (2006). Expecting Toyo Ito effect, report on the Taichung metropolitan theater competition. Taiwan Architects, 32(3), 108. 曾成德 (2006). 期待伊东效应: 台中市大都会歌剧院竞图纪实. 建筑师, 32(3), 108.Google Scholar

Government Documents

  1. Administrative Office of the Central Government. (2003). Official Document No. 0921113281, 06/03. 行政院 (2003). 文壹字第0921113281号函. 06/03.Google Scholar
  2. Fourth Review to SDSC of the Urban Planning of Taichung. (2016). December. 变更台中市都市计划 (新市政中心专用区)细部计划(第四次通盘检讨). 2016/12.Google Scholar
  3. SDSC of the Urban Planning of Taichung. (2009). No. 0980221090 for Mass Transit Railway, August. 新市政中心专用区南侧(配合台中都会区大众捷运系统乌日文心北屯线建设计划), 2009/08.Google Scholar
  4. Second Review to SDSC of the Urban Planning of Taichung. (2005). No. 0940148260, August. 变更台中市都市计划(新市政中心专用区)细部计划(第二次通盘检讨). 2005/08.Google Scholar
  5. Third Review to SDSC of the Urban Planning of Taichung. (2012). No. 1010043533, April (pp. 35–43). 变更台中市都市计划 (新市政中心专用区)细部计划(第三次通盘检讨), 2012/04 (pp. 35–43).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture and Urban PlanningShenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina

Personalised recommendations