By Team IAnD
Photography: dbox_Foster+Partners; courtesy Foster+Partners
Mexico City’s proposed new airport “pioneers a new concept for a large-span, single airport enclosure, which will achieve new levels of efficiency and flexibility”, says Lord Foster.
Foster+Partners, FR-EE (Fernando Romero Enterprise) and NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants) has won the international competition to design the new international airport for Mexico City.
Touted to be one of the world’s largest airports at 555,000 sq. m., here is yet another airport project that is said to revolutionize airport design: the entire terminal proposes to be enclosed within a continuous lightweight gridshell, embracing walls and roof in a single, flowing form, evocative of flight.
Designed with the intention of being the “world’s most sustainable airport”, the compact single terminal will use less materials and energy than a cluster of buildings. The design ensures short walking distances and few level changes – making it easy to navigate; where passengers will not have to use internal trains or underground tunnels.
Proposed as a celebration of space and light, flexible in operation, its design anticipates the predicted increase in passenger numbers to 2028 and beyond, and its development will be the catalyst for the regeneration of the surrounding area.
With spans in excess of 100 metres, three times the span of a conventional airport, it has a monumental scale inspired by Mexican architecture and symbolism. The maximum span internally is proposed at 170 metres; while the lightweight glass and steel structure and soaring vaulted roof are designed for Mexico City’s challenging soil conditions. Its unique pre-fabricated system will facilitate rapid construction without the need for scaffolding – the airport will be a showcase for Mexican innovation, built by Mexican contractors and engineers.
Further, with services camouflaged at the base, freeing the roof of ducts and pipes and revealing the environmental skin, the proposed LEED Platinum design will work well with Mexico City’s temperate, dry climate to fill the terminal spaces with fresh air using displacement ventilation principles. For a large part of the year, comfortable temperatures will be maintained by almost 100% outside air, with little or no additional heating or cooling required.
Construction is due to begin in 2015.