Yokohama International Port Terminal
Foreign Office Architects
The brief of the Yokohama International Port Terminal asked for the articulation of a passenger cruise terminal and a mix of civic facilities for the use of citizens in one building.
The site had a pivotal role along the city's water front that, if declared a public space, would present Yokohama City with a continuous structure of open public spaces along the waterfront.
Our proposal for the project start by declaring the site as an open public space and proposes to have the roof of the building as an open plaza, continuous with the surface of Yamashita Park as well as Akaranega Park. The project is then generated from a circulation diagram that aspires to eliminate the linear structure characteristic of piers, and the directionality of the circulation./ FOA
The project starts with what the architects have named as the "no-return pier", with the ambition to structure the precinct of the pier as a fluid, uninterrupted and multi-directional space, rather than a gateway to flows of fixed orientation. A series of programmatically specific interlocking circulation loops allow the architects to subvert the traditional linear and branching structure characteristic of the building.
Rather than developing the building as an object or figure on the pier, the project is produced as an extension of the urban ground, constructed as a systematic transformation of the lines of the circulation diagram into a folded and bifurcated surface. These folds produce covered surfaces where the different parts of the program can be hosted.
The relation between the skin and the areas established by the structural folds of the surface is one of the most important arguments of the project in that the folded ground distributes the loads through the surfaces themselves, moving them diagonally to the ground. This structure is also especially adequate in coping with the lateral forces generated by seismic movements that affect the Japanese topography.
The articulation of the circulation system with the constructive system through this folded organisation produced two distinct spatial qualities; the continuity of the exterior and the interior spaces and the continuity between the different levels of the building.
The architects have used a very reduced palette of materials and details in order to explore further the continuity produced by the topography. Single finishes extend on the upper or lower side of the topography regardless of exterior or interior condition.
All secondary system that are applied to the steel topography, mainly wood-deck flooring system, glazing system and fencing/handrail system use a single detail along the length of the building and only vary to explore the geometrical variation across spaces. The ambition was to construct continuous but differentiated spaces along the length of the pier.
P.S. FOA's name refers to the fact that its principals, Alejandro Zaera Polo, 38, and Farshid Moussavi, 37, are Spanish and Iranian, and its office has projects in Japan, the United States, the Netherlands and Spain.
Facts about Yokohama International Port Terminal
Gross external floor area:
438,243 square meters
Farshid Moussavi, Alejandro Zaera-Polo
The City of Yokohama Port & Harbour Bureau Construction Department Osanbashi Passenger Vessel Terminal Maintenance Subdivision
Last updated: February 19, 2013