Penghu North Sea Visitor Center, Taiwan

JJP Architects and Planners

 

The North Sea Visitor Center is a key ferry terminal to Penghu’s outlying islands. While tourists abound in the summer, the center is devoid of activities in the winter due to the site’s exposure to the bitter northeast winds. As the existing center is slated for demolition due to structural corrosion, this project aims to introduce new life to a derelict complex while retaining its cultural history.

Employing resilient design principles, the architecture is composed of a series of horizontal planes placed along the site’s grain to form a projected plaza suitable for events year-round. A new tower, echoing the previous design in geometry, directs natural light inward and reduces indoor temperature by means of stack effect. A double-layered and staggered roof further provides thermal separation and ventilation while forming accessible terraces open to the public.

A rammed earth exterior wall system is specified to reduce heat gain in the summer and to minimize structural corrosion from the site’s high levels of moisture and salinity. Using locally sourced aggregate as the base, the rammed earth walls at once minimize carbon footprint and protect against tidal flooding. In landscape design discarded oyster shells throughout Penghu are collected and processed for use as pavements. Native wild flowers and vegetation are planted to deepen the visitors’ understanding and appreciation of the site’s characteristics. In form and materiality, the new center evokes the collective memory and cultural identity of the site’ s history and landscape while creating a new gateway.

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