Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal

Mukilteo, Washington

Project Size:

23,710 square feet

Project Status:

Completed 2020

LEED Status:

Targeting LEED New Construction Silver

Services:

Transportation Design

Associate Architect:

Tiscareno & Associates

Selected Awards

2020 DJC Building of the Year

Top 5

The cultural significance of the Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal transcends its function as a critical piece of transit infrastructure. The project is located on the site where the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty was signed, guaranteeing perpetual hunting and fishing rights to the tribes on their ancestral lands. The project illustrates how sensitive placemaking, inclusive engagement, and environmental awareness can redefine civic architecture. The terminal, Washington state’s first new ferry terminal in 40 years, incorporates the cultural influence of the Pacific Northwest’s native people and includes sustainable elements that demonstrate the state’s commitment to environmental stewardship consistent with the native ethic to “live light on the earth”.

The Ferry Terminal is the West Coast’s busiest ferry route for vehicles, which moves more than two million vehicles and more than four million riders annually in conjunction with State Route 525, the major transportation corridor connecting Whidbey Island to the Seattle-Everett metropolitan area. With proximity to commuter trains via the Mukilteo Sounder Station, the terminal’s walk-on ridership is expected to increase over 100 percent in the next 20 years. The new facility provides space for vehicle holding and separates pedestrian and vehicle boarding with an overhead walkway for safe, efficient accessible loading.

The building’s longhouse form, derived through close collaboration with Coast Salish Tribes, enriches the passenger experience, streamlining circulation and managing large patron flows with intuitive wayfinding. The waiting room is a daylight-filled space with views to land and sea that help orient ferry riders. Tribal cultural artworks created by local Native American artists Kate Ahvakana, Earl Davis, Joe Gobin, and James Madison are displayed throughout the terminal, creating a strong connection to the tribal community and history. A new waterfront promenade connects a path from downtown, through the terminal and onto the beach, creating an elevated pathway for public use.

The Firm collaborated closely with several Coast Salish Tribes to incorporate environmental stewardship into the concept. The project’s strong sustainability ambitions started with repurposing the brownfield site, which previously housed a U.S. Air Force Cold War fuel depot and pier. The terminal building combines advanced energy and water conservation, and the longhouse-style shed roof allows for a full array of photovoltaic panels, which supply 40% of the terminal’s electrical demand. Efficient heating of the concrete-slab main floor with electric heat pumps provides interior comfort in the winter, while in the warmer months a thermostatically-controlled rack and pinion window system optimizes airflow and comfort. The vehicle holding area features pervious concrete that allows stormwater to filter through layers of sand before entering Possession Sound.

The project significantly improves regional mobility while incorporating the cultural influence of the community and paying homage to the site’s historic roots. The ferry terminal demonstrates a sustainable approach and has become a new model for how local, state, and tribal governments can work together. The project represents what is possible when the community and a multidisciplinary team collaborate in support of a shared vision.