In a part of the world where rapidly erected, glossy new buildings are the norm in the game of construction and fast urbanisation, Badouzi Harbour by Taipei-based architect JM Lin is an interesting tale of reuse and historic context. By repurposing a small fishing town’s abandoned power plants, built by the Japanese in the 1930s and the Taiwanese in the 1950s, Lin has helped maintain the island’s architectural continuity. At the same time, he has brought the seaside quarter into the 21st century by transforming its disused industrial building stock into a brand new museum complex.

The development is situated on a small island off the north coast of Taiwan and next to the major port of Keelung. Set to include major museums, such as the National Museum of Marine Science & Technology and the Regional Exploration Building, the complex will also be home to an IMAX cinema, an aquarium, several plazas and exhibition centres. Shops, restaurants and open spaces for the public are dotted around the complex, strategically placed to provide a commercial boost for the island’s communities, and set to attract locals and tourists alike.

Lin’s research-led approach, which infuses retrofitting with contemporary additions and urban staying Power Two abandoned power stations, now transformed into a striking new cultural complex, are fuelling regeneration in Northern Taiwan planning, produced a balanced design that merges the old and the new. The architect’s recent projects, such as his renovation work for the Huashan Cultural complex in Taipei and the National Taiwan Museum – both for the main building and the Land Bank Branch – showcase his fluency in the art of remodelling. This theme is reflected in the Badouzi Harbour complex’s architectural design, but also in its programme; the museums are firmly rooted in the old power plant cluster, but a big part of their construction, specialised equipment and displays point to the technology of the future.

Construction work has been progressing quickly, and while parts of the complex, such as the newly finished Marine Science & Technology museum, are already open, Badouzi Harbour will continue to expand. The aquarium will be one of the last elements to be completed and is scheduled to open in 2017. Set to become a force for regeneration for this previously low-key northern Taiwanese island, Badouzi Harbour, with its enticingly modern and community friendly design, represents an exciting new destination in the region’s cultural map.

Photography: John Short