The Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal is the state’s first new ferry terminal for 40 years and incorporates the cultural influence of the Pacific Northwest’s native people.
A multi-modal ferry terminal has been opened in Washington as part of a larger $187m replacement project that improves regional mobility and includes sustainable elements, demonstrating the state’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
The Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal is the state’s first new ferry terminal for 40 years and incorporates the cultural influence of the Pacific Northwest’s native people. It was designed by LMN Architects, in partnership with KPFF Consulting Engineers and with input from local tribes.
The ferry terminal building is a composition of glass, concrete, and timber, and provides critical safety and efficiency improvements to the West Coast’s busiest ferry route for vehicles. It is inspired by the form of a tribal longhouse, built and used by the region’s Coast Salish tribes.
The Mukilteo-Clinton ferry route moves more than two million vehicles and nearly four million riders annually in conjunction with State Route 525, the major transportation corridor connecting Whidbey Island to the Seattle-Everett metropolitan area.
With proximity to commuter trains via Sound Transit’s Mukilteo Sounder Station, the two-story terminal building’s walk-on ridership is expected to increase by more than 100 per cent over the next 20 years during peak commute times. The new terminal provides more space for vehicle holding and separates pedestrian and vehicle boarding with an overhead walkway for safer, more efficient loading, especially for people with disabilities.
The waiting room is a daylight-filled space with views to land and sea that help orient ferry riders. In conjunction with the terminal, a new waterfront promenade connects a path from downtown Mukilteo, through the terminal and on to the beach, creating an elevated pathway for public use.
“We listened intently and realised our project had to tell a story, one that had been partially hidden from the general public for years and covered under a Cold War fuelling tank farm and a pioneer lumbermill before that,” said Charlie Torres, Mukilteo design project manager, Washington State Ferries. “The group of designers asked to bring the project together embraced the goal of designing a new ferry terminal that honoured and respected the history and values of the Coast Salish people.”
LMN Architects worked closely with the Coast Salish tribes, whose traditional fishing rights encompass the area’s coastal waters, to incorporate environmental stewardship into the overall concept. The project’s strong sustainability ambitions started with repurposing the brownfield site, which previously housed a US Air Force Cold War fuel depot and pier.
“Our goal was to work with the sun, rain, wind and views that have always defined this coastline to make a building that respects both its site and the culture that has occupied it for thousands of years”
Removing the pier reportedly eliminated approximately 10 per cent of the Puget Sound’s remaining toxic creosote piles. The structural expression combines advanced energy and water conservation, and the longhouse-style shed roof allows for a full array of photovoltaic panels so the facility can return energy to the grid.
The roof canopy is made from cross-laminated timber, sustainably harvested and locally sourced. Heating and cooling the concrete-slab main floor with electric heat pumps aims to provide interior comfort year-round. A rack-and-pinion window system automatically opens and closes in response to changing conditions, optimising airflow and comfort.
The vehicle holding area features pervious concrete that collects stormwater and filters it through layers of sand before it enters the Possession Sound. Other advanced stormwater treatment systems are used throughout the terminal site.
Howard Fitzpatrick, principal, LMN Architects, said: “The design team took the responsibility of building on such a historically significant and sacred site very seriously. While it is impossible to construct a modern facility without impacting the site, our goal was to minimise those impacts, to work with the sun, rain, wind and views that have always defined this coastline to make a building that respects both its site and the culture that has occupied it for thousands of years.”
The Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal provides a flexible asset for the community while creating a major new transportation hub that alleviates congestion and provides a new connection to public transit. The new terminal improves numerous shortcomings of the existing 63-year old facility while looking to the future with a sustainable approach serving the Pacific Northwest’s rapidly evolving transportation needs.
LMN Architects has successfully completed more than 700 projects across North America, including the double LEED Platinum Vancouver Convention Centre West in Vancouver, Canada; Cleveland Convention Center & Civic Core in Cleveland, Ohio; Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio, Texas; and the Voxman Music Building at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.
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