For a true icon of the maritime and pop culture industries, the space should be more than simply formally symbolic or a series of closed boxes; it should function as a visual display of bustle of the actual workings and events of pop and maritime culture. By exposing the reality of the maritime and pop industries, people can engage with these cultures.
In Taiwan in general, and in Kaohsiung specifically, open space is a precious commodity. The choice was made to maximize the available open space on site. The ability to interact with water is integral to the public space design. A series of spaces ranging from an urban ‘beach’, yacht marina, a series of small water dimples, a children’s water play area, an interactive reflecting pool, an ecological education space, the world class passenger harbor, and an outdoor aquarium labyrinth. All of these spaces permit all ages of visitors to interact with water for a variety of experiences. The site can be thought of in terms of three general zones. A thin strip on the east of the site is an ideal spot to allow the city to spill out onto an urban ‘beach’ with kiosks for eating and drinking and photovoltaic plazas for visual display. The large space to the north is a grand city plaza. It allows for crowds to gather for performances, tourist markets to be held, for street musicians to perform, and for people to show off their skills on the large dance dance revolution (DDR) game blocks. Heading toward the Love River, there is an ecological education zone, with a small pavilion that is capped by the helipad. The western portion of the site is an ideal location for the outdoor amphitheater, minimizing the sound impact on city residents.
The building is a connecting structure from east to west, creating a vibrant retail bridge with views out over the cove. The building is given a thin profile, in order to press the activities against the façade, giving the public greater visual access while also providing those in the building constant views out toward the harbor. Putting all uses into one building accomplishes two goals: 1) it allows a combining of functional areas, thus minimizing them; 2) it simultaneously allows for semi public spaces to be shared, maximizing them and increasing their grandeur.
Topping the building is a sky park. Linked directly to the ground via an escalator, the public is given a floating green space with expansive views over the city. The maritime center is suspended over the Love River, creating an iconic gateway of maritime activity and objects. The top of the performance hall doubles as an outdoor terrace for the elevated restaurants to look out over the cove.
Logistics and Entrances
The public space is laid out for simple functionality. There are three zones for parking, directly accessed from the adjacent streets. These zones also allow for loading and logistics straight up into the building. Covering these three areas is an undulating public space. Additionally, they frame the three primary pedestrian entrances to the building. Each space relates to the entrance for each use: the pop music entrance is surrounded by vendors of the latest pop music paraphernalia, the primary performance venue entrance has the DDR game blocks adjacent to it, and the marine center entrance contains industrial relics of the shipping industry.
From the architects