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Kaohsiung Cruise Terminal / Emergent

By:  | December - 25 - 2010

The design for the Kaohsiung Cruise Terminal by Emergent is interior driven, biasing building section, and interior spatial effects. The goal is to create a cavernous space which will appear simultaneously massive and lightweight. The project oscillates between volume and surface, avoiding the limitations of exclusively surface-based and volume-based architectures.

The Port Services Center, made up of string of hard elliptical volumes, is pushed down into the soft bubble of the Ferry Terminal, so that exterior skin becomes interiorized. This nesting action allows for functional division between the programmatic elements while creating complex interior formations. While the Ferry Terminal is oriented towards the inside, the Port Services Center– consisting primarily of offices– is oriented towards the outside, with views out to the city and the ocean. It is a building within a building. The skin of the Ferry terminal is constructed out of transparent ETFE membrane and hard fiber-composite Armor Plates. These Armor Plates operate as both structure and ornament. They create stiff zones in the skin where the membrane can be affixed. Ultimately, the construction system is a hybrid of shell and membrane construction types– what we now call Shell-branes.

A pattern of color flows over the armor, both responding to underlying formal features, and at times becoming graphic. Similar to a butterfly wing, coloration follows competing criteria, such as structural and optical pattern logics. Gradient effects begin to blur boundaries between opacities and transparencies, creating unifying visual crossovers between the two systems of the Shell-brane. The open space to east and west of the buildable area is designed as new kind of park, which does infrastructural work as well as supporting the picturesque. It is an organic machine, where energy is cultivated and grown inside algae photo-bioreactor pods. Using sunlight as well as artificial light at night, these pods generate bio-fuel for the ships parked at the Ferry Terminal dock. Algae-based biofuels are already in use in automotive and aerospace applications; this is potentially the first naval application.

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