Guangzhou Nansha International Cruise Terminal Complex, planned and conceptually designed by Aedas, officially opened for operation in November 2019. It is the first cruise home port in China to realize a seamless connection with the metro subway. With an estimated annual passing capacity up to 750,000 passengers, the port can dock the world's largest cruise ship.

Nansha sits at the estuary of Pearl River Delta. It was the birthplace of the ancient “Maritime Silk Road”; now, it is a key hub, strategically located at the geographic center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area economic zone and the Belt and Road Initiative. The terminal is located in Nanshawan District in the Guangdong Free Trade Zone, with a total berth length of 770 meters. It covers 9 major cities in the Pearl River Delta and 5 international airports within a 100-km radius. It is anticipated to play a vital role in bolstering the economic development of the Greater Bay Area.

Inspired by whaleboats, the terminal building’s design concept borrows from Nansha’s maritime resources with its use of free forms and non-linear outlines, encapsulating the image of whales swimming freely in the open sea. The massing of the terminal building takes the form of a whaleboat whereas its head facing towards Shizi Channel, and the undulating mass is staggered as if they were fins.

The terminal building has 6 floors with different functionalities. Interconnection between the arrivals and departure halls on 2/F and 3/F minimises the walking distance and ensures a smooth circulation to support the large passenger volumes. B1/F and the ground floor are utilized for ground transportation. Simple layout plan clearly divides and scatters the passenger flows to avoid packed density. The full-height atrium creates a spacious atmosphere, providing a relaxed yet vibrant passenger experience.

A rooftop garden sits at the top of the terminal building, which can be reached via a viewing elevator where visitors can enjoy panoramic ocean views. Visitors can also access the scenic promenade from the first-floor commercial street, effectively minimizing congestion and pedestrian flow. It forms a coastal community that fully capitalizes on Nansha’s nautical culture while honoring its long seafaring history. The terminal consists of four towers, housing offices and serviced offices with different elevations. The horizontal architectural form adopts minimalist simplicity to echo with the podium design and create a unique waterfront vibe that belongs to Nansha.

“This is more than a cruise port or a picturesque coastline. It is a multifaceted development meant to bring urbanism and ecology closer together.” –Leo Liu, Global Design Principal.



Location: Guangzhou, China
Owner: CCCC Urban Investment Holdings Company Limited
Gross Floor Area: 230,000 sq m

Masterplanning and Concept Design Architect: Aedas
Design Director: Leo Liu, Global Design Principal
Photography: CreatAR Images