Seville Cruise Ship Terminal by Hombre de Piedra + Buró4

Seville Cruise Ship Terminal by Hombre de Piedra + Buró4

Hombre de Piedra Arquitectos

Buro 4 Arquitectos
Muelle de las Delicias, Spain
Project Year
Passenger Terminals

Stories By
Hombre de Piedra Arquitectos

Jesús Granada

Cruise Ship Terminal in the Port of Seville by Hombre de Piedra + Buró4

Hombre de Piedra Arquitectos as Architects

The Port of Seville needed a new Cruise Ship Terminal with a flexible character, multipurpose, extendable, easily removable and even movable. This would permit to accomodate the unpredictable number of passengers in the port and it would not limit the possibilities of the urban-port valuable space of the Muelle de las Delicias. Re-using shipping containers was proposed. On the other hand, the place, near the historic centre, was claiming an object of architectural quality to dialogue with its urban environment.

The on-site construction work could only last 15 days, the maximum time between two consecutive cruises docking. The modular construction with recycled shipping containers would be mostly finished in workshop, it will ensure the precision of the on-site work and it would guarantee to finish the works on time.The terminal’s sustainable design takes advantage of the constructive and plastic potential of the re-used containers, adapting them to an environment and to a concrete climate. The heat of the sun in Seville over the metal envelope could turn the terminal into an oven. The bioclimatic strategies are, therefore, essential.

The “high cube” containers are placed in parallel separated one-container distance, and over these spaces between them, the standard containers are placed. The floor of these ones is cut out and placed down at the level of the high cube ones. The double-height spaces obtained make the inside volume bigger. On the west and east side of these upper containers, opening windows allow the winds to clear the heat, that comes up by air stratification. The exterior white painting reflects up to 90 per cent of the solar radiation and its special composition with ceramic microspheres avoids its excessive warming.

To get the big open hall required in spite of the width container limitation, the space is designed transversally to them. In the side ribbed sheet of the lower high-cube containers, the maximum openings are cut out, taking care not to compromise structural stability both in the final phase and during transport, assembly and dismantling. This way, the big unified space, functionally-needed, is obtained.The upper standard containers are open to the north and they act like skylights. The generated lights and shades as well as the structural remains of ribbed sheet show internally the different juxtaposed container spaces, remembering the succession of the traditional port buildings. As the upper containers are separated and projected beyond the lower ones as a cantilever towards the river, each one of them is clearly recognized.

The lower level, more massive, is lower than the immediate town surroundings. The separated skylight-containers allow to contemplate both sides of the river in between them. Closely, they clearly show their sea-container nature. From the other shore, Los Remedios, they seem a low basement in form of checkerboard, not competing against the regionalist architecture behind them. The doors removed from the upper containers are reused inside the building. The original flooring is also reused, once restored. The wall finishing does not try to conceal the industrial details that make possible to recognize the containers, giving a distinctive personality to the space.

According to the registrations, each one the 23 Korean re-used containers (Hanjin trademark) has covered 1.150.000 km. This is equivalent to three times the trip from the earth to the moon or to 29 trips around the world. Their lives are not over. They continue more quietly.While the terminal is not being used by the port, it can be rented to be used as an exhibition pavilion, as a showroom or even as a concert space.A long journey from Korea having an honorable end.

Port of Seville Cruise Terminal

Lamp as Manufacturers

The Port of Seville needed a new cruise terminal with a flexible, multi-purpose, extendable, easily removable and even transferable character. This would enable it to adapt to the difficulty of forecasting the volume of passengers at the port and would not limit the possibilities of the valuable urban-port area of the Muelle de las Delicias. The Port Authority itself proposed solving the problem using sea containers. On the other hand, the location near the old town demanded an object of architectural quality to promote dialogue between the port and its urban setting.

The sustainable design of the terminal makes use of the constructive and artistic possibilities of reused containers, adapting them to a specific environment and climate. The heat of the sun in Seville on the steel plate covering could turn the terminal into an oven. Bioclimatic strategies are essential.

"High cube" containers are arranged separately in parallel and over the space between them are placed standard containers, whose floor descends to the level of that of the former, giving a double height which relieves the monotony of the space.


The upper standard containers act as skylights. Windows are located to the north so that they only receive the indirect light reflected from the surface of the other containers. The warmest air rises to this top part by stratification. The lights and shadows produced and the structural steel plate buttresses make it possible to distinguish internally between the different juxtaposed spaces of the containers, reminiscent, on a smaller scale, of traditional port warehouses. The upper containers being separated and overhanging towards the river, they are individually recognizable. They observe and welcome the passengers. On the east and west ends of these skylights opening windows are installed so that the prevailing winds (east and west) penetrate easily and remove the heat from the upper part.

The exterior white paint reflects up to 90 percent of solar radiation and its special composition of ceramic microspheres prevents it from overheating. The outer volumes created enter into dialogue with the surroundings. The lower, more massive floor is at a lower level than the elevation of the city. Both banks of the river can be observed through the separate skylights. Up close, the fact that they are sea containers is quite evident.

Artificial lighting is also designed using parameters of environmental and economic sustainability. By using LAMP luminaires with low consumption fluorescent lamps, technically efficient lighting and an unobtrusive design are achieved at a reasonable cost. The BASIC luminaire, made from white painted extruded aluminium and with an internal reflector in polished aluminium, has been installed in the passenger walkways and emergency exits. Meanwhile, for general lighting and double height areas the MINIYES, a suspended downlight made from RAL 9006 grey lacquered die cast aluminium and with cooling fins, has been used. Finally, the FLASH4 industrial projector, made from metallic grey die cast aluminium, with Pyrex IP 65 glass closure and an asymmetric hammered aluminium reflector, has been installed in the passenger entrance doors and has also been used for exterior lighting.

The quality of the architecture should also be measured, especially in the current economic crisis, for its ability to solve a problem well at a reasonable cost. The actual implementation price was only €443/m2 thanks to a simple but effective design and the use of the most abundant material now and in the future: our waste.

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