The Haikou RO | RO Terminal in Haikou, Hainan Island, China, is a passenger and vehicle ferry boat terminal transporting nearly 20 million passengers annually between Haikou and Mainland China. With a future site developed on reclaimed land, the state-of-the-art Haikou RO | RO Terminal will serve travelers and their vehicles for generations to come while becoming an iconic symbol for the City of Haikou. Designed as a sustainable and powerful building form that magically floats above the land, the terminal provides the ultimate flexibility on the site by allowing the traffic circulation patterns to take precedent streamlining the operational efficiency of the facility. Together the operational and energy efficiencies served by the iconic architectural provocateur have created a facility that will make the Haikou RO | RO Terminal a world-class architectural and environmental showcase for transportation terminals globally.
The project site is located along Xin Hai Zhong Road and Xinhai Harbor approximately 1 hour northwest of Meilan Airport on 165,000 MÇ of land. The Haikou RO | RO Terminal contains approximately 115,000 MÇ of total building area programmed into five primary functions including; Ticketing and supporting functions, Passenger Waiting and supporting functions, Office Space, Retail and supporting functions and Parking for approximately 700 cars. With the primary functions elevated above the ground allowing free movement at the ground plane, the building has been layered vertically to create separate and distinct passenger and vehicular movement to occur without conflict while accommodating all of the required maneuvering procedures to occur for efficient ground operations without conflict.program in a clear and systematic way. The site has also been layered horizontally from Xin Hai Zhong Road towards Xinhai Harbor creating the necessary passenger drop-off, security checkpoints, and vehicle.
The Transportation Network
The Haikou RO | RO Terminal project has solved the complex transportation network in a graceful and efficient manner. Two layers of transportation modes occur on site; vehicles dropping off passengers and staging on site to be loaded onto ferry boats and vehicles that are simply dropping off or picking up passengers that are going to or have come from the ferry boats. The vehicles that are being loaded onto the ferry boats include passenger cars, buses, and trucks, many times carrying cargo to Mainland China. These vehicles enter the site from Xin Hai Zhong Road at the ground plane and maintain their position on the ground plane going through a number of procedures that include passenger drop-off (in the case of cars and buses), purchasing tickets for transport, security check and staging, waiting for the next incoming vessel to arrive. The vehicles that are dropping off or picking up passengers only have been grade separated with the invention of a Grand Ramp connecting to both a mezzanine level and a concourse level. This bi-parting ramp brings buses carrying passengers to the mezzanine level while cars carrying passengers proceed to the concourse level, therefore, separating these two modes of transportation. All passengers whether being dropped off at the ground plane, the mezzanine level or the concourse level arrive into one common building form known as the Linear Connector.
The Linear Connector is an element of the program that contains the Ticket Hall and supporting functions and is located primarily at the concourse level on level 2 but it also touches the ground reaching out towards Xin Hai Zhong Road gathering passengers arriving at the site’s eastern edge. The Linear Connector spans the width of the site connecting to both Xin Hai Zhong Road and the water’s edge eventually connecting to the boatway with a direct link to the ferry boats. The Linear Connector while collecting passengers dropping off at the ground plane, the mezzanine level or level 2 simultaneously connects to the future light rail transit line should it be located in the center of Xin Hai Zhong Road. The Linear Connector brings all of the passengers visiting the Haikou RO | RO Terminal into one central location to purchase tickets, move through security, drop off luggage if required and eventually move into the Waiting Hall located on level 3.
The Grand Ramp which allows passengers and vehicles to traverse up to the main departure concourse level sits below the hovering building above thereby becoming a second ground plane. The ramp which covers all of the security functions at the ground plane also allows civilians who want to reach the water’s edge a means to do so. The northern portion of the ramp extends beyond the footprint of the building above to become a Retail Boardwalk containing retail shops along the northern edge of the Linear Connector and a freestanding café overlooking the water’s edge becoming a valuable source of revenue.
The architecture of the Haikou RO | RO Terminal is one of maturity and thoughtfulness; it is simple and elegant yet provocative. Formally, the building is a derivative of the site constraints as defined by the traffic circulation patterns and the “no-build” zone that exists to the south of the site. The building has been centrally located on the site for ease of circulation minimizing passenger walking distances while also acting as a defensive mechanism given that the developments to the north and south of the site are unknown at this time. This defensive mechanism will ensure that the building always remains highly visible on the site from both the landside and the waterside and that it remains a timeless icon for the City of Haikou.
We believe that a building must be “Of It’s Time”, “Of Its Place” and “Of Its Patron” and the Haikou RO | RO Terminal is certainly no exception to that belief. The floating mass represents lightness, a magical moment as one is in awe wondering how can this be? Just as boats are floating vessels on the water, the Haikou RO | RO Terminal is a floating vessel on the land. The magical levitation of the building above the ground plane was created to strengthen the visual and physical connection of the land to the water; to reinforce the passenger experience adding to the drama and excitement of movement towards the water’s edge. The series of chrome clad cores add light and reflectivity to the underside of the floating mass giving them the illusion of nonexistence. The structure defining and supporting the floating mass is a three (3) story scaled “V” Truss that engages the chrome cores as they pass entirely through the building. The “V” Trusses are highlighted in a vibrant color adding warmth and character to the building synonymous with the setting sun. Additionally, the “V” Trusses structural system provides flexibility to the interior spaces so that the building can change and grow over time as changes in the business may occur. The super-scale the structural idea will allow much of the interior spaces to become column-free so that programmatic functions can be reconfigured without the obstruction of the building structure. Sustainability and an energy efficient building were paramount in our thinking of what this building should become. The entire fenestration of the building, both the facades and the roof, allow daylight to filter into the interior spaces while screening out the harsh ultraviolet radiation so prevalent in Haikou. To that end the entire fenestration has become a skin that allows air to pass through it, in and out of it, allowing the operational efficiencies to be minimized while providing fresh outside air to filtrate the interior spaces.
The Breathable Building
The Breathable Building was created to take full advantage of the site and its location adjacent to the water’s edge while also requiring much less energy for the operations of the 24-hour facility. The breathable skin that sits outside the super-scaled “V” structure is composed of two basic elements; horizontal sliding doors and an exterior sunscreen to filter out the unwanted ultraviolet light. The wood framed sliding door move horizontally on both the exterior of the floating mass as well as inside the oculus so that the natural ocean breezes can move freely through the building. These wooden sliding doors are also accompanied by hardwood floors throughout the building indicative of wooden decks on a boat so that the experience of being on a floating vessel out in the ocean begins while inside the building. Located outside of the wooden sliding doors is an aluminum screen that has been painted to reflect the calming nature of the ocean’s movement. While this screen will add character and richness to the building it will also filter the natural daylight providing a dappled light inside the building softening the harsh sunlight to provide a calm and relaxing interior environment. The interior floor plates are held short of the building’s exterior so that exhausted and hot air can rise up through the building along the perimeter to be ventilated out through the parapet at the building’s exterior top edge. The porous nature of the building’s facades continues to the roof plane. The roof plane has been designed as a series of curvilinear light shelves that allow a soft light to filter inside the building from above while screening out the harsh southern direct light. The curvilinear light shelves, like the repetition of waves on the shoreline, are oriented towards the north gathering much desired northern daylight to create a light-filled and friendly environment. Exhaust mechanisms will also be located intermittently throughout the roof plane to exhaust out heated and unwanted air.
The Haikou RO | RO Terminal is a timeless and iconic piece of architecture that will serve the City of Haikou for generations to come. This project will become the precedent for ferry boat terminals globally and set a new standard for Transportation Architecture in China. Passengers that experience this facility will find ease and efficiency in its operations and work ow and the architecture will enhance the customer experience creating a lasting memory for those that use it. The facility will reinforce the goal of creating a sustainable environment and one that takes full advantage of its natural surroundings reducing the cost of the building’s daily operations. The added retail components located in both the secure and unsecured areas of the project will add to the value of the site and ultimately to the financial success of the project. The Haikou RO | RO Terminal is an elegant and bold piece of architecture that defines what it means to be “Of It’s Time”, “Of Its Place” and “Of Its Patron”.