7 Emblematic Portside Projects

by | 23. Jul 2015


Elbphilharmonie on Hamburg’s harbor front. Image © Thies Rätzke

For port cities, the portside has always been where they mark their stature to the world. In ancient times, Rhode had its Colossus and today, New York its Statue of Liberty. These spectacular structures were what greeted visitors travelling from far and wide, informing and warning them what they had in store.

Even though most international travel is now airborne, many historic port cities seem adamant in wanting to maintain the importance of their portsides. Thus, they are constructing costly buildings reflecting to some degree the values of their city and society, just like the historic port structures.

Some of the more noteworthy and spectacular examples include Gehry’s Venturian duck in Bilbao and Herzog & de Meuron’s collossal new beacon in Hamburg, as well as the more sensitive and thoughtful Snøhetta Opera in Oslo and Foreign Office Architects’ Yokohama Terminal. Needless to say, the strategies vary from creating opportunistic tourist draws to engaging the city’s citizens with the port in an entirely new way, thus, renegotiating the role of the port. In part, at least.

Have a look at our compiled list of portside projects below.

Oslo Opera House
Oslo, Norway

De Rotterdam
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Henning Larsen Architects
Reykjavik, Iceland

Guggenheim Bilbao
Gehry & Partners
Bilbao, Spain 

Herzog & de Meuron
Hamburg, Germany