Ma Yansong led MAD Architects (CASR) and China Academy of Building Research, CAB won an international competition for the design of the Cuntan International Cruise Center, Chongqing, China. Gantry Crane, currently a cargo terminal will be transformed into a 65,000 square meter international cruise terminal and city complex. It will feature a 15,000 sqm port for cruise ships and more than 50,000 sqm commercial space.

The 66,000 square meter project site is located in Chongqing’s Liangjiang New Area. It has direct access to Yangtze River. The team was inspired by large orange gantry cranes placed across the freight terminal. This gave them the impression that they were “living alien creatures with an air of surrealism”. The team was inspired by the cranes’ industrial colors and designed a design that focused on the surrealism of the site using elevated buildings that look futuristic and free-walking.

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The scheme is called the Yangtze River Skywalk and consists of six interconnected buildings that span 430 metres. The buildings appear to rise and drop from a distance and recreate the color and rhythm of the industrial cranes. They also offer an unobstructed view over the river. The aluminum curtain wall of the building gives the shops, restaurants, and parlor a modern and surreal appearance. The new Cruise Ship Landscape Park & Cruise Ship Hall is located beneath the floating-like structure. It was designed to expand the Cuntan Central Gold Axis Pier. This intervention creates a link between the Century Cuntan Park and Pier Park. It provides visitors with a 100,000-square-meter green space, and allows them to experience the variety of uses on the site.

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Chongqing is home to mountains and water. The Yangtze River is not just a natural landscape of Chongqing. This mountain city is full of movement and energy due to human activities like shipping traffic and industrial transportation. Chongqing’s energy is not just a result of industry, but an energy that stimulates imagination. The city’s kinetic energy can be felt here. People can also see the public spaces of tomorrow. Ma Yansong

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The Cruise Centre Hub is located under the Cruise Ship Landscape Park and provides easy access to both the floating complex and the park below. The building’s design features skylights to let in natural light and an upper cantilevered structure to block direct sunlight.

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This design proposal is part a larger aspiration of local officials to transform the urban environment. The Chongqing Municipality adopted in early last year the Cuntan International new town Master Plan and Cruise Ship Home Port Area Urban Design. This plan aims to create an integrated ship, port and city district that will be the most important river cruise port in the world. Construction on the Cuntan International Cruise Centre is expected start in November 2022, and will be finished by 2027.