The City of Yokohama


Jones, Partners: Architecture


The Osanbashi Pier, located in the midst of the port of Yokohama, adjacent to the downtown Kannai District


400,000 ft2


An international port terminal, providing moorings for four large cruise ships, a departure and arrival lobby with Customs, Immigration and Quarantine, a visitor's deck, cruise deck, international garden, baggage handling, administration facilities, retail shops, and restaurant


Exposed painted steel truss, painted steel sub-frame, cast-in-place concrete garden "tubs," and cast-in-place parking basement, founded upon the pier's original pile foundation


A megastructrual steel truss frame sets a scale to match that of the massive ships the terminal will serve; cradled within are the programmatic volumes housing passenger processing and civic retail functions; a simple one-way drop-off and parking layout ensures maximum convenience and smooth traffic handling. Nestled between the steel truss frame and the programmed volumes are the "International Garden," which act as transition zones bridging between levels and inside and outside.


December 1994 (competition)

Project text

The experiences of the ship steaming across the bay, attended by its bevy of tugs, and the citizen emerging abruptly from the city center, by car or bus, or ambling on foot along the waterfront through Yamashita Park, are all unique, but they converge upon the same focus: a structure which itself embodies, encapsulates, figures the convergence of land and sea, city and bay, pleasure (vacation) and duty (work, end of vacation) while facilitating the continuous, chaotic ebb and flow of passengers and visitors. The terminal is designed to be a great land-mark and ocean-place, so like a ship itself. It inscribes a position on the skyline of the city and horizon of the bay between the ships which moor there and the tall, proud buildings which encircle it. At once familiar and exotic, the terminal presents the ships with something to aim at and come home to, the towers with something to look at and focus upon. A simple form out on the bay, it mediates between the ocean and the city, and the cultures of the visitors and the host nation, tying the two together as gateway, port, and garden.

The garden exists between raw nature and the city. The concept

Niwaminato, like the garden itself within the city, is not obvious. The garden is a special condition of nature, preserved, set apart and enjoyed as a respite from the hectic rush of urban life. The terminal gardens are similarly protected; they are revealed only gradually on the approach from land or sea. The gardens are not "on" the terminal building, or around it, but intimately encompassed within it as an organic part of its organization, participating in the division of the functions as well as the provision of visual delight. In this scheme the gardens are seen as the mediating elements, not only metaphorically between the city and nature but also between the different cultures which meet at the terminal–the visitors from many lands and the citizens. Consequently, these landscaped areas of the building are not singular or continuous, but many and varied, with a theme of exploration. A series of International Gardens are proposed which would feature rotating examples of the garden arts from each continent visited by the ships; they bring light and air, and nature, into the very center of the vast terminal, making it less vast. Their intimacy is the city's gift to the wide open spaces of the ocean.