sparch architects: shanghai international cruise terminal
mar 12, 2010
sparch architects: shanghai international cruise terminal

artist’s impression of the shanghai chandeliers by day
image by sparch


sparch architects are responsible for the master plan of shanghai’s new international cruise terminal.
the 800-metre long riverfront site is located north of the historical ‘bund’ centre of shanghai
and will become a new gateway into the metropolis, accommodating three 80,000-tonne cruise ships
at any one time, with an expected passenger flow of over 1.5 million people per year.
this project is a response to the numerous cruise companies competing to include shanghai on their
south east asian routes.


the shanghai authorities have had to address the urgent requirement to open up ‘breathing spaces’
and bravely set down a target to free up 30 percent of the municipality as open space for citizens to enjoy.
all ahead of the shanghai world expo 2010, whose theme is ‘better city, better life’, the cruise terminal
site forms part of this vision to create a green corridor along the huangpu river, extending as far south
as the expo site itself, between the lu pu and nan pu bridges.


artist’s impression of the shanghai chandeliers at night
image by sparch


the architectural design of the terminal considers the herculean scale of the cruise ships that
will dock there. its total construction area is 260,000 sqm, but the brief required that 50 percent
of this be placed underground, including the cruise terminal passenger facilities
(planned by frank repas architects). part of this was to free up most of the site so it could serve
as green park terracing along the water’s edge. sparch’s challenge was dealing with this ‘underworld’
and the architecture coming out of it. their solution was to create ambiguity as to where the
ground plane is, by opening up a honeycomb of sunken courtyards. the concept also explores the
idea of ripples in the landscape being amplified into standing crystal waves that wrap over the buildings.
this augmented over time into a second skin that protects the commercial office spaces from their
due south orientation, and is populated by semi-outdoor balcony spaces overlooking the huangpu river.
the riverfront faces the city, and illuminates it at night into a herring bone array of delicate curved masts
that tie the pavilion buildings together. a gap appears in the middle – a glazed table top supports
amorphous pods on cables. one, two and four-storey pods contain cafes, bars and restaurants,
hovering over a public performance space below.


artist’s impression of the shanghai chandeliers by day
image by sparch


the site includes a 400 metre long pedestrian street, with a sequence of event spaces,
a media garden for festival events and a food court. the path flows from the west,
leading to a crystal art gallery at the east end. the public winter garden forms the centrepiece
of the plan with its 40-metre tall glass clad portal which creates a dramatic stage where thousands
of people can gather.


artist’s impression of the shanghai chandeliers at night
image by sparch


the ‘shanghai chandelier’ is one of the highlights of the new pavilion. it is 40-m high
glass-clad portal, which overlooks the public park and waterfront.


night view of wave facades
image by christian richters


all six office pavilions which make up the terminal contain ventilated atria, topped with
louvered skylights. during mid-season, air circulates through the facades across the office spaces
towards the central atrium where it exhausts at the top. pixelated window openings across the
office facades provide cooling. the double skin facade traps UV heat from entering the buildings
in the summer and acts as an insulating blanket during the winter.


arup engineers has designed a ‘river water cooling system,’ a first in shanghai for a
commercial application, which will draw water from the huang pu river and combine it,
via heat exchangers, with the HVAC system. this system will greatly reduce the energy consumption
of the buildings during the summer months. canopies above the office pavilion roofs will be carpeted
in a ‘photovoltaic membrane’, sized to offset the energy requirement of lighting the landscape
and public spaces in the evenings. by maximizing natural daylight and ventilation, and introducing
the ‘river water cooling system’, along with using photovoltaic membranes, the development is trying
to follow the philosophy of an ‘environmentally sustainable development’, to reduce energy consumption
and operation costs.


inside the wave facades
image by christian richters


illuminated glass balconies
image by johnson xu


crystal wave facades and cloaking pavilions
image by christian richters


image by johnson xu


office and retail pavilions
image by christian richters


view of pudong towers from between the pavilions
image by christian richters


shanghai chandelir under construction
image by christian richters


shanghai chandelir under construction
image by christian richters



project info:
GFA (area above ground): 130,073 sqm
total area (including basements): 263,448 sqm
project completion -
phase 1: riverfront buildings, october 2009
phase 2: high rise tower and winter garden, april 2010

architecture, landscape, and interior design: sparch
design director: john curran
team: jeb beresford, gabriel briamonte, conyee chan, jan clostermann, sofia david, carl harding,
zhang hua, ala pratt, joe ren, sven steiner
client: shanghai port international cruise terminal ltd.
engineer: arup hong kong
façade engineer: RFR paris
lighting consultant: lighting design partnership

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