Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal

Mukilteo, Washington

Project Size:

23,710 square feet

Project Status:

Anticipated Completion 2020

LEED Status:

Targeting LEED New Construction Silver

Associate Architect:

Tiscareno & Associates

The cultural influence of the Pacific Northwest’s native people speaks through the design of the new Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal. In a unique cross between a ferry terminal and a tribal longhouse building typology, this replacement project provides critical circulation and safety improvements to Washington State’s busiest vehicle ferry route, significantly benefitting regional mobility, while “sitting lightly on the land.” Design features demonstrate a respect for the site’s deeper, historic meaning, yet look to the future with a sustainable approach to serving rapidly evolving transportation needs.

Site and Program
The Mukilteo/Clinton ferry moves more than two million vehicles and nearly four million riders annually on State Route 525, the major transportation corridor connecting Whidbey Island to the Seattle-Everett metropolitan area. With proximity to commuter trains via the new Mukilteo Sounder Station, the new two-story terminal’s walk-on ridership is expected to increase by 124 percent over the next 20 years. The program ameliorates numerous shortcomings of the existing 60-year old terminal, which last received upgrades in the early 1980s. Designed to open Mukilteo’s waterfront to the public, the new facility meets the latest standards for earthquake preparedness, provides more space for vehicle holding, and separates pedestrian and vehicle boarding with an overhead walkway for safer, more efficient loading. The project’s strong sustainability goals began with repurposing its brownfield site, which included a World War II fuel depot, eliminating approximately ten percent of the Puget Sound’s remaining toxic creosote.

The building’s simple, longhouse form enriches the passenger experience, streamlining circulation and managing large patron flows with intuitive wayfinding. Vertical transportation cores at each end of the structure lead to a linear promenade at the upper level, from which entries to the ticketing and waiting area are plainly visible. The waiting room is a daylight-filled space with views to land and sea that help to orient ferry riders, whether embarking or disembarking. Throughout the project, examples of local tribal artwork and craftsmanship create a sense of welcome and regional belonging.

LMN worked closely with the Coast Salish tribes, whose traditional fishing rights encompass the area’s coastal waters, to incorporate environmental stewardship into the overall concept. The structural expression combines advanced energy and water conservation strategies in ways that raise public awareness. The large, south-facing shed roof allows the addition of enough photovoltaic panels for the facility to operate off the grid. The roof canopy is made from cross-laminated timber, sustainably harvested and locally sourced. Heating and cooling the concrete-slab main floor with electric heat pumps efficiently provides interior comfort year-round. The large vehicle holding area is pervious concrete to collect stormwater which then filters through layers of sand before entering the sea. Based on the design team’s computational fluid dynamic modeling, a rack and pinion window system functions like an art installation, automatically opening and closing in response to changing conditions to optimize airflow and comfort. Cedar cladding, suited to Pacific Northwest rain, reinforces the building’s longhouse inspiration.