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Island of Light

Ferry terminal, 2010

Architect: Tonkin Liu
Client: Kaohsiung Port Bureau   
Location: Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Budget: £54 million
Size: 73,000 m²
Engineers: Arup
Urban Planning: JMP
RIBA Exhibition 'Tailor-Made Architecture' 

The Island of Light lifts you delicately from the level of the land to the level of the liner. The inclined mass of the building, perched on the waterfront, accommodates the entire Port and Cruise Centre. 

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ocean liners from china approach
a raised glowing forest on the island of taiwan,
the raked stage for arrival and departure,
and their long-anticipated encounter with “Formosa” 

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Out of the geological mass of striated louvers and slatted steps grows a biological lightness. The forest of perforated steel trees on the inclined slope creates a cool light filled hall for passengers. Around the glazed hall the biomimetic shell lace roof provides shelter to visitors passing through or up and around the building.

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At night the slatted island and the perforated trees become a glowing symbol for the city. The archetypal image transcends culture, welcoming visitors and celebrating the rituals of travel by sea. 

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