The new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is being constructed on the site of Hong Kong’s former airport, at the tip of the old runway. Establishing Hong Kong as the preeminent regional hub for cruise liners, the terminal will have capacity to berth two large 360-metre-long vessels, each with more than 4,000 passengers and over 2,000 crew, as well as anticipating the demands of a next generation of larger ships.
The linear arrangement of light-filled passenger areas is characterised by its clarity and ease of use. The terminal has a generous, rectangular footprint and is arranged over three main levels, encased by a lattice of large white ‘fins’ that allow daylight to filter through to the passenger waiting spaces. Services are integrated with the structure and the different levels are fused with the surrounding pedestrian walkways. The baggage handling area, customs hall, back office functions and the passenger arrival area are placed at ground level, with the passenger drop-off area on the level above. The second floor incorporates the check-in and waiting areas, as well as a public colonnade, shops and cafes. A pedestrian route starting from the waterfront promenade progresses up through the building and opens onto a large public roof garden, with open and sheltered spaces for informal picnics and outdoor dining, set against the stunning backdrop of the city. The site on the south-western tip of the former runway has unobstructed views of the eastern entrance to the harbour, framing both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
The design is highly flexible, incorporating spaces that are suitable for alternative functions and enabling the building to be used all year round, fully utilising ‘down time’. The spacious interior spans just over 42 metres and the waiting areas can be converted into a venue for performances, events and exhibitions, supported by a variety of restaurants and shops. The sustainable design also combines a number of energy saving measures, as well as generating power from renewable sources and making use of recycled rain water for cooling.