Weiwuying - From Military Compound to Cultural Center
Weiwuying is one of Kaohsiung's two 2022 Taiwan Lantern Festival main venues. National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) was opened in October 2018, and since then, it has undergone an amazing transformation, from its original 47-hectare military compound to an amazing modern architectural masterpiece. Today, it is a popular landmark, where locals come to enjoy performances and stroll around its surrounding Metropolitan Park. National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) sits on a 9.9-hectare lot and occupies a floor area of 3.3-hectares.
20 years ago, the military complex was isolated from the surrounding city by a towering stone wall. After the Second World War, Weiwuying became a training center for new recruits. It was decommissioned at the end of the Cold War, and in 1992, the "Green Revolution Movement" was launched, and the complex began to be transformed. At first, the city considered several options for the reconstruction project that included a public housing project, a university, and an eco-friendly metropolitan park. It was finally decided that it would become southern Taiwan's first international performing arts venue surrounded by lush greenery.
Weiwuying was designed by Francine Houben, who was inspired by the beauty of the local banyan trees. The architect noticed the locals enjoyed participating in numerous activities around the old trees and thus made the banyan the central focus. She envisioned a square performance area where people could enter from all sides. She hoped to design a place where people could roam freely, enjoy various performances and shorten the gap between art and life.
Even now, Weiwuying is still undergoing transformation. The historical three-building military complex is currently being turned into performance spaces for indoor creations, a theater, an exhibition space, a dance studio, etc. Spring Wind Art Theatre and Taipei National University of the Arts will be using these spaces for various small theater performances, interactive art camps, etc. The city hopes that other groups will also bring their creative energies and that Weiwuying will continue to find new purposes.
After 20 years, Weiwuying has been repurposed and reconstructed. Kaohsiung citizens can now enjoy a beautiful art venue that is nestled in lush greenery on a historical site. This year, it is the first time that lanterns have been integrated into the surrounding environment. This also parallels Weiwuying's historical roots that have merged into the modern architecture. This year's lantern festival also embodies the fusion of tradition and modernity, with its state-of-the-art lighting aesthetics mixed with traditional lanterns. Weiwuying is a tremendous place to visit and enjoy its art ambience, along with modern performances and cultural events.