The world’s first underground passenger cruise terminal has opened its doors at the heart of Istanbul. It has finally unveiled the 1.2 km of Karaköy’s coastline and revived one of the city’s historical public squares for the first time in 200 years. Galataport project is transforming Istanbul’s oldest and only major port into a unique high-tech cruise port.
The logistical placement of the terminal underground allows the waterfront to remain open as a recreational area for visitors. As a cruise ship docks into the port, a gangway rises to meet the ship doors and subsequently transports the passengers to the underground level. The underground passenger terminal has been completed to global standards and brings all terminal operations, luggage handling and passport control activities underground, allowing the waterfront to remain open to be enjoyed by visitors as a recreational area. The design primarily ensures that all passenger movement and terminal functions are planned correctly within the space, while offering visitors a pleasant and unique experience.
Our design narrative was deeply influenced by the cultural texture of the area. The historic architecture and character of Istanbul's ancient cisterns were referenced in the interior shell we built within the terminal space, through rounding the edges of the columns and structural forms of the upper floors.
The design intends to render the space as natural and airy as possible despite little access to natural sunlight, optimize the flow of passengers in and out of the space, and ensure a pleasant transit experience. Well thought out lighting schemes were specifically chosen to emit a silver light and accentuate this natural feeling, while a light and natural color palette was preferred for the various materials. Durable materials with larger surfaces and minimal grout joints were selected in order to withstand heavy circulation and allow easy cleaning.