The world is your oyster: Zaha Hadid’s Salerno Terminal is inspired by the sea

The world is your oyster: Zaha Hadid’s Salerno Terminal is inspired by the sea

No proof was needed that Zaha Hadid’s architectural legacy would live on to continue to inspire and amaze, and the office’s latest completion – the new Salerno Maritime Terminal – is a case in point. The building, the first to be completed by the firm since the architect’s untimely passing last month, has just been inaugurated in the Campania region of southern Italy.

The project was kick-started by then-mayor Vincenzo De Luca to aid the area’s social, economic and environmental regeneration. The terminal was completed this month under the watchful eye of current mayor Vincenzo Napoli.

The building’s hard, asymmetric concrete shell was designed to protect users from the region’s hot sun during the popular summer vacation months. Its curvaceous form – a Hadid trademark – even takes its references from the sea, abstractly resembling an oyster. 

The program inside is straightforward, containing administration offices for national border controls and shipping lines; a terminal for international ferries and cruise ships; and a separate terminal for local and regional ferries. Internal ramps criss-cross the building, enhancing connections between areas.

Its functionality and valuable contribution to the area’s infrastructure – the terminal is set to increase arrivals of ferry and cruise ships by 500,000 additional passengers each year, creating new jobs – are matched by its views, which are nothing less than spectacular, spanning not just the blue Mediterranean Sea, but also the picturesque Amalfi Coast, the Gulf of Salerno and the Cilento. 

The terminal’s striking form is illuminated at night, acting as a beacon or lighthouse for the coastal town. ’The new terminal operates, both functionally and visually, as a smooth transition between land and sea,’ explain the architects, ’a coastal land formation that mediates between solid and liquid.’

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