In January it was announced that five teams would be advancing to the next stage of an international design competition for a Passenger Service Center for the Port of Kinmen in Taiwan. These teams are: Josep Mias Gifre (Spain); Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects / Lorcan O'Herlihy (USA); Junya Ishigami + Associates (Japan); Tom Wiscombe Architecture, Inc. / Thomas W. Wiscombe (USA); Miralles Tagliabue EMBT SLP / Benedetta Tagliabue (Spain).
Following this announcement, competition entrant d INKOFF from Los Angeles shared their submission with WAN, having collaborated with Arup (structural engineers) and Sun Light & Power (solar engineers). Their competition entry reads thus:
The Sea Port will be Kinmen's gateway and calling card from which travelers gain a sense of the city - the local culture, the people's values and aspirations, and for what they would like to be known. There are three main factors which influence the story that this gateway tells through its architectural vocabulary:
1) Local historic architecture - such as Shuitou Village and Kinmen Folk Cultural Village which express through their roof structures a soaring spirit that is ready for and welcomes the current global technological revolution
2) Motion of the sea and of ships' bow waves - juxtaposed and combined with the vocabulary of ‘gateway’, a statement of ‘Welcome to our Land’ emerges
3) Streamlines and arcing profiles of the cruise ships - point to new destinations with a brave and excited sense of exploration
These three factors combine to form a monument to the city, a Gateway to Kinmen - The Kinmen Passenger Service Center. It would have high visibility and would become a landmark as seen from both the land and sea, remembered by all travelers. The essential function of the site, which is that of an enclosure, or ‘box’, was taken and elongated, the juncture of walls questioned and ‘massaged’ so that a structure embodying the above three thematic principles emerged with an appropriate dynamism. LEED requirements for a harmonious blend with the environment also came into play.
The local climate requires that the structure's interior be cooled during most of the year, and a solution was found to satisfy this while minimising electrical power costs - various devices block the sun on the south, east and west sides, while nothing blocks the sun on the north side, the side facing the sea - providing an interior that is comfortable throughout the year. There are spectacular views from both the ground level and the second floor balconies of ships' arrivals and departures, making the structure exciting for travelers and glamorous as an entertainment facility for local residents.
There are three skylights which resemble jellyfish when seen from above and which appear to have glowing tentacles when seen from below. These abstracted ‘tentacles’ give both a dramatic effect and control of interior air temperatures by filtering the sky light. The high ceilings also have facilities for hanging art work to reflect or influence the mood of the season or festive activities.
On the exterior, abstract expressionistic structures are located between the building and the docks to add excitement and attraction. The elongated roof outline, sloping gently toward the south, includes the canopy for passenger drop-offs and efficient positioning of solar panels sufficient to totally satisfy the building's functional needs. The client's program was implemented on two levels: On the Ground Floor are found the two lobbies and passengers' luggage check-in and claim areas. Here, the facilities for domestic and international travelers are completely separate.
Domestic travelers' boarding and berthing areas are also here. On the south side of the building are the drop-off and pick-up areas with traffic for domestic travelers at the surface, and an underground U-shaped traffic pattern for international travelers. On the Second Floor are boarding and berthing areas for international travelers, and a single Free Waiting Zone for both domestic and international travelers. Here there are shops and restaurants, and access by both domestic and international travelers provides a more efficient use of the space and its facilities.