Dror and Gensler propose world’s first underground cruise operation for Istanbul’s Galataport

As a part of the Galataport Project, protection and restoration work has started at one of the most beautiful stretches of Istanbul’s coastline. A collaborative team of Dror and Gensler won an invited competition to redesign the Galataport and open the prominent Bosphorus-adjacent site at the heart of Istanbul to the public. The 110,000 square meter area features two important quays and boasts a cluster of landmarks such as the Istanbul Modern, the city’s contemporary art museum. Currently, a major portion of the 1.2 kilometer-long boardwalk is an active cruise terminal and remains closed to pedestrians.

The basic concept behind Gensler and Dror’s proposed plan is to open the stretch of coastline for public use through “the world’s first underground cruise operation.” To achieve that, the team worked alongside Miami-based firm BEA to invent a hydraulic boardwalk and gangway system. The hydraulic boardwalk deploys a rising gangway only when a ship docks and the system only takes up 3.5 meters of boardwalk.

Dror Benshetrit, principal of Dror, explains, “Through the collaboration of our partners, we’ve been able to relocate the cruise terminal in an unprecedented way and design a plan that respects the cultural texture of Istanbul. It is our hope that the revitalized neighborhood will reconnect local residents and visitors with nature, enrich their social life, and ultimately, improve their well-being.”


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