Zhongdu Theater doesn’t have many “theater” stuff left in it, but it does have one of my favorite designs. It has a public market on the ground floor with the theater on the upper level. It was designed this way to drive local development.
It was built in 1966 and designed by Xiao Fozhu 蕭佛助. He designed a number of movie theaters in Kaohsiung. Unfortunately, this is the only building of his that is left standing.
Amazingly the market is still going. And still quite busy with lots of stalls and people still working and shopping there every day. The theater closed down in 1989 though.
I have read that the owner of the building does want to demolish the building, but can’t until some relocation happens with the market stall operators. That article is from 2012 so pretty sure that the building is here to stay.
A braised pork rice restaurant 肉燥飯 with cool street art on the door showing some of the history of the building.
Some of the traces of the theater on the bottom level of the building.
The theater’s heyday seemed to be the mid-1970’s with many people going to watch the newest movies, but also to enjoy the air-conditioning.
However, with changing consumer tastes and with the rise of many theaters becoming porno theaters, striptease shows at theaters and the growing MTV rooms (like a KTV room but with movies) fewer people started showing up. It doesn’t appear that the theater went the porn movie route of many theaters of this time. It finally closed in October 1989.
The area around the theater is a cool area of Kaohsiung. If you are ever checking out the Zhongdu Tangrong Brick Kiln Factory 中都磚窯廠 or other places around there, stop by the old theater and market and say hi!