Vol 20 No 1 (08-2010)
Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building

In a bid to further prosper Hong Kong as the “Asia's World City”, the former Kai Tak International Airport is to be developed as a mega cruise terminal. The HK$ 4,898 million design and build contract of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building and ancillary facilities was won by Dragages Hong Kong Limited, with the contract commencement on 8 May 2010.

The new terminal building contains two berths for concurrent embarkation or disembarkation of two mega-size cruise vessels. The target completion date is 2013-2014, with the opening of the first berth expected at around mid 2013 and the second one operates for middle size vessels in 2014. A special design team with international experts and consultants are assembled by Dragages to work on the project.


Currently, the Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui offers two berths accommodating vessels of up to 50,000 tonnes. However, due to the high demand of the market, some cruise vessels have to berth at mid-stream and at container terminals occasionally. Once the new terminal building is completed, the two mega size berths can handle concurrent embarkation or disembarkation of mega size cruise vessels, including the “Oasis of the Seas”, the largest cruise vessel in the world.

The construction site is located at the southern tip of the former Kai Tak Airport Runway. The lot is bounded by the proposed Tourism Node site and the proposed Runway Park site on the north-eastern side, the proposed heliport site on the south-eastern side and the proposed waterfront promenade on the north-western side. The three-storey cruise terminal building will include approximately 23,000 square metres of passenger waiting, check-in area and baggage handling area. It will also provide 5,600 square metres of ancillary commercial areas. The roof of the terminal will be a featured landscaped deck, providing spectacular harbor views, open space and greeneries for public enjoyment.

Design of Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building

With an aim to support Hong Kong’s development into a leading regional cruise hub, the contractor will construct a world-class cruise terminal with design concepts involving the unique qualities of the site, its many uses and the romance of the sea. Considering the development potential of the nearby area, the cruise terminal building will be multi-functional when completed, and can serve as venues for exhibitions, functions, and even cultural events, etc. The design and construction work of the cruise terminal building and its construction sequence are divided into different parts, including foundation, substructure, superstructure, building services works, landscaping works, finishing works, interior design and fitting-out works and also way-finding facilities for the entire development. 

Wide Span Structure and Innovative Building Form

The large span structure is one of the characteristic of the building. Distributing the integrated services in the cores and along the beams, the wide span provides flexibility for various potential traffic and internal layout configurations. Not only can it provide maximum space for arranging waiting queues, it is also more economical and environmental sustainable as it can be arranged to different layouts according to different purposes and needs. Joining with the sculptural ceiling, the large waiting halls on the first floor provide visitors with spacious visual effect.

Atrium Design

There are four main atria placed with regular intervals and are extended to the full height of the building. It provides a clear and logical way-finding principle because most of the vertical circulation of the terminal is contained in these atria. Lifts and escalators carry passengers and visitors through the building in efficient manner and provide better control of visitor traffic. Natural light is allowed to enter the building and reduces the amount of artificial lighting required.

Cascading Landscape

The overall landscape design of the building integrates with the development and visual setting of the greater Kai Tak Development. The building provides an elevated landscape which transports pedestrians from the waterfront promenade to the landscaped decks and further disperses them into the neighboring Tourism Hub and Runway Park, while at the same time providing great open views for visitors. The open space will provide facilities and areas for activities such as family picnics, dining and wedding banquets. The landscape is also consists of connecting green landscaped decks from the first level to roof level and serves a wider green network for the neighboring communities of the Kowloon Peninsula.


In an attempt to achieve high sustainability, the project has adopted various form of energy efficient features, such as photovoltaic systems, solar hot water system, rain water and air conditioning condensate water recycling system, service-on-demand control for escalators and passenger conveyors, heat pumps for hot water / space heating, building energy management system, demand control of air supply ventilation fans, carbon dioxide sensors, etc.


A convenient pathway is provided to connect the waterfront promenade with the landscaped roof. The cascading landscaped decks at first floor level provide a convenient intermediate linkage for people approaching the landscaped roof and also enhance the connection with the adjacent commercial areas. The two building ends are linked by a public colonnade, which contains exciting views and commercial facilities. The public colonnade is an interconnected permeable public route linking the adjacent tourism node and the atria and two ends of the cruise terminal building. A vertical circulation hub is placed on the southern end providing convenient pedestrian access to the landscaped deck from the Runway Park.

Asia’s World City

The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building is going to be an iconic building in Hong Kong and further elevate its position as “Asia’s World City”. It will be a gateway in the Eastern Harbour, symbolizing Hong Kong’s economic strength and technological progress. The new Cruise Terminal Building will also be a portal to a place that is unique in the world and alluring and intriguing for visitors and residents of Hong Kong.


The main contractor Dragages Hong Kong Limited first came to Hong Kong in 1955 when it won the contract to reconstruct and extend the runway at Kai Tak International Airport. Fifty years later, Dragages Hong Kong is again commissioned to design and build the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building and ancillary facilities. The Building is expected to be a tourism spot which provides world-class services, as well as a recreational and cultural center.

Courtesy acknowledgement:
Architectural Services Department
for the information and pictures provided