The Tide Interactive Seaplane Terminal


The Tide Interactive Seaplane Terminal is a conceptual proposal for Harbour Air Seaplanes, Vancouver. The site location, Sea Island, Canada is vulnerable to the sea level rise as its most part could be under water by 2100. The Tide Interactive Seaplane Terminal is thus to study the interaction between water and architecture, and find an architectural solution to the sea level rise in the future. The project examines how the building reacts to tidal water, and evolves into an organism with response to the changing environment.

The main concept of the seaplane terminal is to register water phenomenons into the building. The floor is designed to float on the Fraser River, Vancouver, which has average three to four meter tidal variations everyday. While the floor floats, its roof is fixed by piers and tied to the land. The folding ETFE walls then contract and expand in accordance with the tidal changes, thus creating a unique high/low ceiling experience on a daily basis. For example, one can experience low ceiling during the day and high ceiling during the evening. Ceiling fixtures can be also tidal interactive. In the meantime, the roof collects rainwater and creates waterfalls from the roof edge. Taking advantage of Vancouver’s long rainy season, these waterfalls create poetic ambiance with response to various types of rainfall.

Properties: The terminal is consisted of three blocks: Restaurant & Event Space (1020m2), Terminal (765m2) and Hotel (1500m2) The max. height of the building is 12 metre (low tide), and the mim. height of the building is 8 metre (high tide).

Challenge: The biggest challenge came from the walls, how to make the walls that contract and expand. Many solutions were examined including fabric walls, metal mesh walls, sliding walls and etc. We then found ETEF would be the ideal wall material in terms of its flexibility and thermal performance.

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