Inside SCI-Arc


Tom Wiscombe Wins Second Place in Design Competition for Port of Kinmen, Taiwan

The government of Taiwan awarded SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe, principal of Los Angeles based Tom Wiscombe Architecture, Second Place in the international design competition for the Port of Kinmen Passenger Service Center. The 2-stage competition challenged architects around the world to come up with unique design proposals for the busy Port of Kinmen, a transportation hub for more than 3.5 million travelers crossing the Taiwan Strait by sea annually.

Wiscombe’s design proposal for the $62 million, 450,000-square-feet project is based on the idea that the building is not just a piece of infrastructure, but also a cultural intervention.

Wiscombe envisioned the new port as a multi-functional terminal facility and expansion for the existing Port of Kinmen, intended to both symbolize a new era of open communication with Mainland China, as well as to reflect the unique local culture of Kinmen.

The structure’s strong silhouette, designed to be seen from Xiamen, Kinmen’s sister port located across the strait on mainland, is characterized by dynamic figures arising from the terminal roof. The building serves as a beacon for openness and transformation—the “golden gate” of Kinmen Island. The roof silhouette is not a generalized gesture, but rather one which is associated with the specific traditions of Kinmenese architecture. This history is defined by its complex and varying roof ridges, exemplified in the Swallowtail and Saddleback roof silhouettes seen throughout the island, originating in Taiwan and China’s Fujian Province.

The proposed Green Roof Promenade creates a virtual extension of the greenbelt to the east of the site, turning the building into a link between land and ocean.

Along with Tom Wiscombe Architecture, finalists included Josep Mias Gifre (Spain), Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (USA), Junya Ishigami + Associates (Japan) and Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Spain). The project was awarded to Japanese architecture firm Junya Ishigami + Associates.

More info about the proposal is available at