Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal by Elphick Proome Architecture

  • Designers: Elphick Proome Architecture
  • Project Type: Infrastructure
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Photography: Elphick Proome Architecture
  • Location: South Africa

Elphick Proome Architecture, a South African-based architecture firm designed the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal, a new Ocean Terminal designed to serve cruise ships along the eastern seaboard of Southern Africa, prominently located in the Port of Durban. Conceived as a portal to the City of Durban and Kingdom of the Zulus, the terminal is intended to be a primary facility in the region.

The terminal’s architecture, displaying an African identity, stands as a notable urban landmark on the harbor edge. It intentionally contrasts with neighboring historic precincts, featuring sculpted recesses that create a cantilevered entrance canopy and provide framed views of docked ocean liners. The triangulated terracotta envelope draws inspiration from Zulu craft, contributing to a contextual quality and potentially influencing future waterfront development in the city.

In addition to its visual impact, the terminal is designed to facilitate the embarkation and disembarkation of 6,000 passengers daily, with the ability to convert to a conference center during the off-season months.

Just like the facade, the site layout of the two-storey terminal was intentionally designed to give the passengers an interesting experience by passively guiding their movements within the premises and the structure. With sufficient parking and space for drop-off, Elphick Proome Architecture found a way to ensure proper movement within site.

For example, within the ground floor which is the busiest level of the terminal, the designers found a way to ensure that the embarkation and disembarkation flow of traffic did not cross paths except at immigration.

One of the most striking components of this design is the roof. The roof is designed with a gentle fold to guide passengers entering towards the wharf and to direct the attention of departing passengers. Conversely, upon arrival, curated views welcome disembarking passengers to the city, enhancing the idea of a portal and reflecting the essence of the terminal.

Large glazed facades around the entire building maximize natural lighting within the spacious interiors. The building’s envelope is designed as a ventilated facade to regulate heat exchange between the inside and outside, resulting in a significant reduction in HVAC loads commonly associated with buildings of this nature.

Overall, the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal by Elphick Proome Architecture is positioned to be a significant addition to the Port of Durban, contributing to the city’s maritime capabilities and potentially influencing its urban development.

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