The new Port of Bilbao passenger terminal located at Getxo 3 Cruise Pier, has come into operation with the arrival of the first cruise vessel of the year P&O Cruise’s Britannia. The Port Authority of Bilbao has invested nearly 6 million euros, of which 4.6 correspond to the building, 1 million on the movable gangway and 0.4 million to the attached estate.
The design has been carried out after an exhaustive study and analysis of the functional demands of this type of building. Special attention has been given to the data provided by the major cruise operating companies, to international vessel safety and security norms, in addition to the references from the best terminals in the world. This, together with the high standards of quality and maritime safety that have been applied means that this terminal will be at the forefront among those in Europe. It will suppose a further boost for increasing tourist traffic for Euskadi (the Basque Country), and will enable improvements in the service and in embarkation/disembarkation operations, something that will become a key factor for those ports like Bilbao wishing to grow as cruiser base ports.
The design of the building, the construction project and the works management were carried out by Architects AjuriaguerraTres; the building was constructed by the temporary consortium formed by Giroa and Viuda de Sainz, S.A.; the gangway was constructed by Prosertek. The works commenced in March 2016.
The station has been conceived as a great rectangular glass container bearing in mind the differentiation between passenger and luggage flows with independent lanes and stairways. It is 15 metres high with 3,200m² of useable surfaces and consists of two main floors with a mezzanine in between.
The hall and tourist information are on the lower floor where embarking passenger reception and check-in take place; there is also ample space for disembarking passenger luggage collection. The mezzanine accommodates the VIP lounge and offices, while the waiting area, embarking and disembarking passenger control area and disembarking area are on the first floor.
In addition, there is a movable gangway 169 metres long next to the building for passenger access to vessel embarkation/disembarkation.
Integration in its surroundings and materials
As with all great transport infrastructures (railway stations and
airports for example) this building has been conceived as the first access gate to Euskadi. So a modern, attractive image was needed, but at the same time it had to be dynamic and vigorous, something that transmits to visitors an image of a modern, enterprising society that is fully involved in values of excellence.
The design was inspired by the surroundings as a building was created seeking to be integrated into such a privileged area. To this effect, a light corrugated zinc roof, to give the impression of the movements of the waves, was included and glazed enclosures were used. Architectural features include a structure of support pillars formed in a “V” in what is a clear reference to naval architecture from the way vessel superstructures were made as are the “ribs” making up the structure of the fixed gangway.
In the choice of materials functionality, durability, easy maintenance as well as safety have also been the keynote.
On the one hand, bearing in mind the marine environment and local weather, special attention was given to providing the building’s metal elements with maximum protection levels with a view to avoiding corrosion, especially to the most exposed ones, as well as guaranteeing their fire resistance for a minimum of one and a half hours so that the building can be safely evacuated in case of fire.The zinc covering on the roof is especially indicated for a building on the waterfront, which implies a particularly aggressive atmosphere.
Notwithstanding, in the interior of the building, there has been a desire to transmit quality and warmth, through the use of few materials, all of them pure, clean, clear with regard to their design and composition, with great technical performances in terms of resistance and durability.
Direct vessel access
The station opens out towards the vessels, thus facilitating embarking and disembarking movements, and guaranteeing passenger comfort. Passengers access the vessel directly, and safely, without having to walk along the pier, thanks to the above-mentioned movable gangway. In addition, this infrastructure, adapts to the height of the embarkation doors of any vessel, independently of size, and enables access to persons with reduced mobility.
Luggage and ship supplies movements, take place at ground level, next to the berthing area through a zone completely free of passenger movements.