Kinmen Ferry Terminal
Kinmen, Taiwan, 2014
Despite decades of threats, Kinmen (金門), the Golden Gate, has defied annexation and remained Taiwan’s Teaser at the coast of mainland China.
Until it was noticed that another approach would be so much more efficient and perhaps even fun…
Détente through Commercialism
Symbolising and eventually overcoming the ideological dualism of the 20th century, the islands of Kinmen have been a place of physical and political in-betweenness:
As Taiwanese territory, its physical proximity to mainland China has made it involuntary battleground of reoccurring crises. During the past decades, Kinmen’s role has changed from the forefront of confrontation to a mediator of détente. Yet unlike the (almost) always political détente that ultimately led to the melting of the cold war in Europe, Taiwan and China have been approaching each other through the powers of commercialism, with Kinmen as its main stage.
Perhaps the most interesting by-product of this détente through commercialism is the effective and relentless dissolution of geo-political stalemate. As if Kinmen’s many tunnels to counter military attacks had in reality been furrowed as channels to access a shopping dorado, the entire island seems perfectly prepared for a heavy exchange through commercial activity.
Island as Shopping Mall
With the entire island having been declared duty-free, Kinmen’s ferry terminal will mainly serve as a point of entry for eager shoppers from mainland China. In positioning Kinmen’s ferry terminal as a new prototype for a gateway to ultimate shopping in an age of uninhibited commercialism, FBA proposed a continuous surface where arrival and departure are freed from the stern dictate of the immigration process and instead become part of ambiguously flowing zones of in-between. Checking in, boarding, disembarking, shopping, paying, strolling are all oozing into each other in one continuous space that is both sea and land.
The site, terrain vague turned into nondescript manmade land, is transformed into a built environment based on a found, reclaimed existence. Perhaps very much like Kinmen (which has always been much more than a disputed island), the new ferry terminal is more than a border turned in a building; it is a place that connects past and future, certainty and curiosity, tradition and cutting-edge culture in an open-ended conversation of many.
Ocean of Events
Kinmen’s ferry terminal goes beyond the conventional dualism of arrival and departure. A milieu that defies a singular direction and instead constantly welcomes, reaches out and disseminates, the ferry terminal becomes ecotone between sea and land, between unstable and fixed. Clearcut, simplistic conventions are no longer valid where Kinmen acts as a true 21st century mediator of multiple possibilities in an ambiguous and changing ocean of events.
Kinmen, Taiwan, 2014
Florian Busch, Sachiko Miyazaki, Momoyo Yamawaki, Akira Miyamoto, Suguru Takahashi, Antoine Vaxelaire
Mechanical Engineering: ARUP
Structural Engineering: ARUP
Environmental Engineering: ARUP
Client: Kinmen County Government
GFA: 35,500 m²