Keelung Harbor Service Building / Neil M. Denari Architects

Waterside view of gateway tower – Courtesy of

Yesterday, we announced that Los Angeles based Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA), in collaboration with Taiwanese architectural firm , have been selected as winner of a highly publicized, international competition for the new Keelung Harbor Service Building in Taiwan’s largest port city. As promised, we now present to you the winning proposal.

Serving as a “Gateway to the Nation”, the project site consists of a new cruise ship port terminal, a 250 meter long, three level building that will accommodate the largest ships in Asia; a 53,000 square meter Harbor Authority office complex; parking for 1000 cars; and a third phase 23,000 square meter speculative office building. The NT$6.2 billion (US$211.5 million) renewal project will be completed in phases. Construction will commence next year on the three-floor terminal, which is planned for completion by 2015. Work on the complex’s office building is expected to come to a conclusion in 2017. Learn more after the break, with the architects’ complete project statement.

Aerial view from the Northeast – Courtesy of Neil M. Denari Architects

The New Keelung Harbor Service Project

The Port of Keelung serves, at times, 10,000 cruise ship passengers a day, making it Taiwan’s largest port of entry into the country. Keelung lies on the Northern Coast of Taiwan, 23 kilometers Northeast of Taipei on the often cloud covered slopes of the Keelung Mountains. Known as the rainy port, Keelung with its wet climate, has a lush green collar surrounding its 350,000 inhabitants. For NMDA, the specifics of the site both locally and regionally have impacted the design in its massing and materials and colors.

Elevation – Courtesy of Neil M. Denari Architects

Site phasing has dictated that the terminal, which will enter construction in 2013, will be located within a first phase construction zone that is 55 meters deep. This precipitated a linear organization to the terminal, a complex set of port programs layered across three main floors. The main entry and boarding corridor are located at +7:00m, while the shopping mezzanine and boardwalk are at +13.00m. Shaped by these parameters as well as the functional circuitry of the various pathways and hardware of movement, the terminal extracts formal properties from programmatic limits. ETFE skylights hover over voids lined with stainless steel mesh, a diaphanous surface intended to refract light into the terminal spaces.

3F Terminal Central Atrium – Courtesy of Neil M. Denari Architects

The Northern end of the terminal turns vertical as it supports a cantilevered scenic restaurant, which itself becomes a bridge to the second phase office complex . Below the Gateway Tower is a boardwalk called “the Shoelace” that forms a connective loop / roundabout to other directions on the boardwalk level.

View towards gateway tower and shoelace boardwalk – Courtesy of Neil M. Denari Architects

Across the main drop off road, the main office building which will house the Harbor authority, police station, a large post office transfer facilities, a weather station, and a vast array of harbor support offices, is a 53,000 square meter, 70 meter tall structure. Based on a courtyard type, the building is a distorted and punctured form whose specific cantilevers and surface orientations are based on prevailing views and breezes. Punched windows move across two floors and in various directions, two attributes that change the perception of the size of the building.

View of Entrance to public plaza and Office Complex – Courtesy of Neil M. Denari Architects

The main mass opens up at the lower floors on the street/access side of the site, exposing chartreuse and sea foam green circulation cores, creating an in-between reading of a hollowed out solid and a building on columns.

View of Terminal entrance – Courtesy of Neil M. Denari Architects

An expansive public plaza occupies the roof of the service base of the site. The plaza is connected to pathways that move in and around the office building and the terminal that connect with the seaside boardwalk.

Project Statement provided by Neil M. Denari Architects, Inc.

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Keelung Harbor Service Building / Neil M. Denari Architects" 20 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=274687>