More than just a transport link, this floating ferry terminal mimics the geometry of a manta ray and includes a marina and public gardens that form an ecological park in the middle of the urban space of Seoul.
Suggestive of the geometric formation of the manta ray, Vincent Callebaut’s design for a floating ferry terminal will provide a unique transport hub for the city of Seoul. Described by the architects as “a biophilic bridgehead to the Han River promoting a nature recovery project”, the terminal will be suspended above a marina and greenspace, bringing all programmatic uses above the water in order to open the views that stretch across the Han River and Yeouido Park.
Part of an international design competition, the concept’s main drive is to improve the natural irrigation of the site through the transformation of the park into an ecological forest of willow trees that will strengthen the natural protection of the river banks during flooding.
The architects claim, “The project's ambition is to turn Yeouido Park into a genuine cultural hub, where nature progressively asserts its rights over the concrete city again to better protect it.”
The Manta Ray project is divided into three layers consisting of: panoramic floating dikes linked together with flexible seals that surround and protect the marina from water currents; tree-like structures of CLT – that form the manta ray shape – come together in an upper layer to provide access to recreational services such as food courts and exhibition galleries; an observation deck with a rooftop orchard that includes a balcony that floats over the water. The entire structure is accessed via a cable-stay pedestrian bridge that links the metro station to the park.
With a mission to be “a prime example of energy saving, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and circular economy”, the Manta Ray project embraces a reduction, resuse and recycle philosophy. The CLT materials used to construct the second layer of the design are generated from eco-responsible forest trees, while materials used for interior spaces are biosourced, recyclable and/or recycled in origin.
In addition, In order to produce 100% of its energy needs, the floating terminal also includes solar, wind, biomass and water renewable systems. The rooftop includes encased photovoltaic polycristalline cells. A rooftop wind farm generates even more power, and organic and biodegradable waste from the park is supplied to a biomethanation plant to produce energy to generate the park’s equipment.
“Seoul is finding new ways to invest in this kind of soft infrastructure, helping to foster social cohesion with a greater sense of community among diverse socio-economic groups,” says Vincent Callebaut.
“With an eye toward increasing equitable access for everyone to these new facilities, this floating vessel is an example of biophilic and resilient architecture, demonstrating that it is possible to build with nature rather than against it, by respecting the life of the river and allowing the local fauna and flora to flourish.”
Images: © Vincent Callebaut