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Hong Kong, a new terminal by Norman Forster for thousands of international cruise liner passengers in the world’s most visited city
The new extension to the Ocean Terminal in the Victoria Harbour, designed by Foster + Partners, opens to the public
The new extension to the Hong Kong Ocean Terminal by studio Foster + Partners
Are you planning a cruise in the South China Sea? Then you’ll be glad to know that the Ocean Terminal in the Harbour City, i.e. Hong Kong’s international seaport, has newly been further enhanced by the addition of a brand-new gateway, open to the public a few days ago and designed by Forster + Partners studio, founded by Norman Foster in 1967. With stunning new outdoor spaces for dining and leisure, and a breath-taking view on one among the world’s most beautiful metropolitan panoramas, the new Terminal Harbour City HK is in the running to become one of the main touristic landmarks in Hong Kong. A city that, according to the latest data, is the most visited metropolis in the world with about 26, 5 million tourist a year.
Even before the opening of the new terminal, though, the Victoria Harbour was an essential destination. Located between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, this deep-water dock – whose strategic and commercial importance was something British colonialists grasped only too well – has unveiled a great touristic vocation over the last decades, above all because of the stunning skyline it offers especially at night. With an amount of thousands of passengers per day (about 53.000 only from ferry-boats), and a lively passage of containers, the Victoria Harbour is also a seaport for international cruising companies also thanks to the Ocean Terminal and the recently built Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.
“A new lounge for Hong Kong residents and visitors”, according to the definition given to the Ocean Terminal recent extension by studio chief and Senior Executive Partner Luke Fox.
Photo credits © Foster + Partners
The metropolis’ new public plaza has been created by “integrating a new series of public settings”. The project features cascading terraces looking out right down to the waterfront edge, that will offer to both residents and tourists a 270-degree view ranging from the Kowloon Peninsula to the north-east to the Causeway Bay to the south-east. Architecturally, the terraced form of the building is not just an aesthetic choice, but also a direct response to its climatic context. Each of its wide cantilevered terraces shades the lower levels, protecting them from the harsh tropical sun thanks to a system of balustrades angled to tie in with the overall geometry of the building. The structure includes also shops, relaxation areas and alfresco diners: the project’s aim was precisely that of promoting Hong Kong’s inhabitants traditional open-air habits. For this reason, Foster + Partners architects have transformed the cruise terminal’s undeveloped end into a vibrant entertainment hub right in the center of the city harbor.
Photo credits © Foster + Partners
The project’s real gem, though, is its exterior, with a stepped outdoor seating area from which to sit and enjoy the city’s skyscrapers. The steps feature glass risers, enabling natural light to seep deep into the internal atrium, like in a shutter system. Public spaces are crossed by a series of escalators connecting the roof level to the marine deck – a sort of a central diagonal circulation spine, harmoniously blending the new transit center into the old terminal.
Photo credits © 2017 Harbour City
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