Embarcation as the Ultimate Experience: The Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Terminal Competition

kaohsiung title

by Stanley Collyer


Image: ©Reiser+Umemoto RUR with Fei & Cheng Associates’ winning design (model perspective)

Many buildings in close proximity to bodies of water seem to have that joie de vivre about them. Whether it is Sea Ranch, The Bilbao Guggenheim, Oslo Opera House or summer residences in the Hamptons, the proximity of water somehow manages to stimulate designers to produce excitement in a relaxed atmosphere. From the Greek temples to Spas in England, construction of major structures on oceans and rivers was always more likely to reflect modern trends in architecture, rather than simply replicating a style from the past. Recent waterfront projects such as the Yokohama International Port Terminal—a competition won by Foreign Office Architects—and Canada Place in Vancouver are examples of cities recognizing the need to push the envelope when redesigning port terminal facilities. So it was with the results of the
Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Service Center competition .

Not only is Kaohsiung a major port facility on the island, it is seen as a major terminal for future water transit to the Chinese mainland. The goal of the competition was to identify a design that will enhance the travel experience of passengers, make it a principal departure destination for cruise ships, and provide recreational opportunities for the local populace. Moreover, it is understood that the new facility should add to the urban vitality of the immediate vicinity.


Aerial view of site

The Site

The entire Harbor site consists of an area measuring 6+ hectares, of which only 2.6 hectares was designated as the competition site for the project’s first phase. As might be expected, the site included two berths for ocean liners. Since the program was quite extensive, the major challenge was to design a facility which would fit well into a rather limited site, but present a friendly face both to the city and from the water.

Similar to many recent international competitions in Taiwan administered by competition adviser, Barry Cheng, this one was conducted in two stages, with five finalists advancing to the second stage for the ultimate prize—an $80M commission. The seven-member jury did have an international flavor, most notably Maximiliano Fuksas (Italy), Hisao Kohyama (Japan), and Hitoshi Abe (USA). During stage two, only six jurors provided comments, as Maximiliano Fuksas could not attend the final session. The five premiated finalists chosen by the first-stage panel and their final rankings after the second stage were:


First Prize
Reiser+Umemoto RUR Architecture PC, New York, NY
with Fei & Cheng Associates/Philip T.C. Fei, Taiwan

• Second Prize
Asymptote Architecture, New York, NY
with Artech Architects/Kris Yao, Taiwan

• Third Prize
Ricky Liu & Associates Architects+Planners, Taiwan
with Takenaka Corporation/Masahiro Morita, Japan

Honorable Mention-1
JET Architecture Inc./Edward Kim. Canada
with CXT Architects Inc./Dan Teh, Canada and Archasia Design Group/Sao-You, Taiwan

Honorable Mention-2
HMC Group Inc. / Raymond Pan, Los Angeles, California
with HOY Architects & Associates/Charles Hsueh, Taiwan

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The Eisenhower Memorial: Sending Mixed Messages?


The Eisenhower Memorial: Sending Mixed Messages? by Stanley Collyer



Since this article was written, several events have occurred which have changed our perception of the final design process. Frank Gehry went back to the drawing board and has modified his memorial design, eliminating some of the columns which we objected to at the edge of the site (January 2011, see above). One may only hope that the tapastry design element, which the Arts Commission still has some reservations about, can be resolved successfully.

More recently, a group called the National Civic Art Society in Washington has issued a call for another Eisenhower Memorial competition for the same site. Apparently stuck on the idea that everything in Washington near the Mall should be in the Beaux Arts traditional style, they take offense that the Gehry design does not meet their standards of what a memorial to Ike should look like. Although probably well-meaning, this group evidently would like to turn back the clock on progress in this field. They would like to erase from memory all the advancements in new materials and ideas which have surfaced and been implemented over the past century. Is it then surprising that not one architect on their board is a national name (Most of their members are laypersons). Although their competition will undoubtedly draw some entries, it should hardly be taken seriously, much less receive any attention from the press. What they are doing is adding nothing to a positive dialogue about architecture in this country—only attempting to set it back by decades. -Ed

Frank Gehry’s preferred idea for the Eisenhower Memorial was one of three proposals which the firm presented in March 2010 to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission after prevailing in the earlier selection process. Although not touted as a pure competition by the Memorial Commission, the original selection process in 2009 was typical of the General Services Administration’s Excellence in Architecture program, often used to adjudicate the design process for government projects such as federal courthouses.

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