In order to accommodate the growing number of cruise ship passengers who regularly disembark at the Spanish Port of Seville – the country's sole inland port – a new cruise ship terminal has been built using shipping containers. While they aren't always the best building material for every situation, in this case they appear to have proved a good fit.
The brief called for the new terminal to be suitable for use as a multipurpose space, and able to be expanded or moved with relative ease if necessary. Crucially, construction also had to be completed within 15 days, which is the maximum interval between cruise ships docking at the port.
Spanish architectural firms Hombre De Piedra and Buró4 took 23 well-worn shipping containers to construct the 508 sq m (5,468 sq ft) terminal. Throughout their working life, the containers have clocked up the equivalent distance of 29 trips around the world. They were prepared off-site, before being transported to the dock and installed while it sat empty.
The shipping containers were stacked and cut extensively in order to offer maximum inner space without unduly affecting the structural integrity of the building. The end result is an attractive design that doesn't try to hide the industrial nature of the containers.
The biggest concern regarding the project is that of solar heat gain. During summer months, the southern Spanish province of Andalusia can become very hot indeed. To combat this, the exteriors of the containers were painted with a white paint, which contains an insulating additive and is reckoned by the architects to reflect "up to 90 percent" of solar radiation. Though we've seen no data to contradict this figure, it seems a stretch.
The containers also have windows cut in, which can be opened to allow the prevailing breeze to cool the expansive interior – and hopefully avoid cooking both the tourists who pass through, and the visitors to the various exhibitions and shows held within the building.
The terminal was completed in 2013.
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