Nansha/Aedas International Cruise Terminal Complex
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Text description provided by the architects. The Guangzhou Nansha International Cruise Terminal complex, planned and conceptually designed by Aedas, officially opened in November 2019. It is the first cruise homeport in China to achieve seamless connection with the subway. With an estimated annual passage capacity of 750,000 passengers, the port can accommodate the largest cruise ship in the world. Nansha lies at the estuary of the Pearl River Delta. It was the cradle of the ancient “maritime silk road”; now it is a key hub, strategically located at the geographical center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Economic Zone and the Belt and Road Initiative. The terminal is located in Nanshawan District in Guangdong Free Trade Zone, with a total quay length of 770 meters. It covers 9 major cities in the Pearl River Delta and 5 international airports within a radius of 100 km. It is expected to play a vital role in enhancing the economic development of the Greater Bay Area.
Inspired by whalers, the terminal’s design concept borrows from Nansha’s maritime resources with its use of free forms and non-linear contours, encapsulating the image of whales swimming freely in the open sea. a whaleboat as its head faces the Shizi Channel, and the undulating mass is staggered as if it were fins.
The terminal has 6 floors with different functionalities. The interconnection between the arrival and departure halls on 2/F and 3/F minimizes walking distance and ensures smooth circulation to support large passenger volumes. B1/F and the ground floor are used for land transport. A simple layout plan clearly divides and disperses passenger flows to avoid crowding. The full-height atrium creates a spacious atmosphere, providing a relaxed yet dynamic passenger experience.
A rooftop garden sits at the top of the terminal building, accessible by an observation elevator where visitors can enjoy panoramic ocean views. Visitors can also access the scenic promenade from the commercial street on the first floor, which effectively minimizes congestion and pedestrian flow. It forms a coastal community that fully capitalizes on Nansha’s nautical culture while honoring its long maritime history. The terminal consists of four towers, residential offices and serviced offices with different elevations. The horizontal architectural form adopts a minimalist simplicity to echo the design of the podium and create a unique waterfront ambiance that belongs to Nansha.
“It’s more than a cruise port or a scenic coastline. It is a multifaceted development intended to bring together urbanism and ecology. –Leo Liu, Global Design Director.