New cruise terminal uses natural materials to echo regional environment
This 1,275-sq-m cruise ship terminal building sets a new standard for buildings of this type by the creation of warm, open and inviting spaces that introduces passengers to the region's natural resources and beauty. Situated on the edge of the Nanaimo Assembly Wharf, it contains a welcome centre / multi-purpose hall, facilities for the Canadian Border Services Agency and offices for the Nanaimo Port Authority.
The building site was formerly used for the processing and storage of wood products that were the economic lifeblood for the region. A connection is made to the past by employing a variety of wood elements including glulam columns and beams, interior and exterior wood screens, and stratified timber panels. Passengers moving through the welcome centre are cradled by these large curved wood elements that make the interior reminiscent of a giant ship's hull.
Glass walls open the hall to panoramic views of the Nanaimo harbour and a native plant garden is positioned between the building and the water's edge. Light bounces off a linear water feature and is reflected up into the main hall, and a passive solar scheme allows sunlight to enter through the extensive glazing to warm the stone floor. Heat is then slowly released and circulated before exiting through louvers at the top of the building.
The same wood features infiltrate the office space above which overlaps the main hall, with views through it to the ocean beyond. Working with a local artist, a custom artwork was commissioned and printed onto a large roll-screen which can be raised or lowered to alter the configuration of the main hall.
Completed in June 2011, Checkwitch Poiron Architects had less than 12 months to design and build this project, and by working closely with the contractor the project came in on time on and on budget.