A Gateway to the Garden of the Gulf

July 1, 2008
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates has unveiled the design for the new gateway to the city of Abu Dhabi. The uniquely "x"-shaped Midfield Terminal Complex will serve as the centerpiece of the massive $6.8 billion redevelopment at the Abu Dhabi International Airport, which is the largest airport development currently under construction in the Middle East. Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates is the master plan architect.

Phase I of the 5.9 million-square-foot terminal - one of the largest in the world -- will include 42 gates (ultimately there will be more than 90) and will be completed in 2012, according to the Abu Dhabi Airports Company. This project will also include a new control tower, cargo buildings, additional runways, and commercial development. The Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal Complex is expected to add 20 million passengers to the airport's handling capacity by 2012. Ultimately, the facility will process well over 50 million travelers and more than 2 million tons of cargo each year. The structural solutions adopted for the building create large, column-free zones that enhance passenger experience and maximize the flexibility for future space planning.

The "x"-shaped plan produces a generous ticketing hall. Framed by a series of long-span steel arches that support a soaring roof, the hall leads passengers into a central space containing a large garden, a reference to regional architecture Abu Dhabi, which has become known as the "Garden of the Gulf". Over many years, an impressive program of tree planting has transformed the city's ecology and the design of the airport embraces this tradition. The undulating roof curves downward at the concourse piers to provide protection from the sun and to define a series of departure lounges arranged along the length of the building.

The building's complex geometry has been developed through the application of cutting-edge computational and analytical parametric technology that facilitates the reconfiguration of 3-D forms and volumes.


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