Along-awaited waterfront ferry terminal is up and running on Seaplane Lagoon, Alameda, Calif. Against a backdrop of the decommissioned USS Hornet aircraft carrier and the Alameda Naval Air Museum, the Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal provides regular weekday commuter services from Alameda, Oakland and other areas east and across the Bay from San Francisco. While helping to expand Bay Area public transit options, the terminal serves primarily to improve regional access to Alameda and as a catalyst to rejuvenating a former Navy site.

Sustainability issues, not just for the terminal, but also for the broader surrounding landscape, were prime, easing and contributing to a continuous loop that circumnavigates the Bay for joggers, walkers and bicyclists. Design of the terminal proper reflects these environmental concerns: Fabric used to shelter the pedestrian loading queue also provides soothing soft daylight (and night lighting’s glow serves as a beacon for wayfinding), reducing the need for fossil fuel air-conditioning for the quay.

Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects designed the terminal setting and the sinuous tensile canopy to evoke historic ship sails and the surrounding waves. “Materials were specified for longevity, sustainability, and aesthetics: fabric roof, steel roof structure, glass wind screens, concrete foundation, ramps, steps and floor. The fabric roof solution was extremely economical,” say the architects, in a press release. They also designed parking lots to drain to vegetated bioretention basins, pre-filtering any runoff before entering the storm drain system.

In addition to Wong Logan, major engineering, specification, fabrication, installation and project managing of the tensile canopy was provided by PFEIFER Structures, Dallas, Texas. Fabric is a PTFE-coated glass fiber membrane Sheerfill® V from Saint-Gobain Technical Textiles.

Project data

Client: San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA)

Architects: Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects, Berkeley, Calif.

Design, engineering, fabrication, project management (canopy): PFEIFER Structures, Dallas, Texas

Fabric: Sheerfill V, PTFE-coated glass fiber, from Saint-Gobain Technical Textiles

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