A curving slab-like roof oversails the glazed elevations of this new airport terminal in Gibraltar by London firms Bblur Architecture and 3DReid (+ slideshow).
The architects designed the building as a gateway to the British overseas territory, as it is the first structure that visitors will see when arriving by plane, car or on foot.
Fully glazed elevations were added to take advantage of the views in every direction. To the west and east, passengers can look out over the Mediterranean Sea, while the landmark Rock of Gibraltar flanks the building from the south.
The roof overhangs each side of the building, creating a canopy that shades the windows from direct sunlight. An integrated cleaning system also rinses the facades periodically to keep the glass free from corrosive sand particles.
The interior of the terminal is organised over two floors, with a double-height concourse for check-ins and arrivals. The departures lounge occupies the first floor and extends out onto a balcony terrace that spans the building and branches out to the west.
"I feel that the building arrangement is particularly successful in creating a graceful and elegant and calm resolution to a very demanding brief," lead designer Daniel Bérubé told Dezeen.
He added: "There is a type of narrative that unravels in the building, culminating in the departures lounge where there is finally a full view of the striking north face of the Rock of Gibraltar. Its full breadth and setting can be further appreciated by stepping outside the departures lounge onto the airside terrace."
Another benefit of the glazed elevations is that they bring natural light through most spaces in the building. Roof lights were also added and help to aid orientation through the terminal.
Bérubé first developed the design for the airport whilst working for 3DReid, but continued working on the project after leaving to set up his own firm, Bblur Architecture, with partner Matthew Bedward.
Since launching in 2008, Bblur Architecture has also completed a bus station with an undulating aluminium canopy and collaborated with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners on a fabric walkway on the roof of the O2 Arena in London.
Other airports to complete in recent years include Bodrum Airport in Turkey, which topped the transport category at last year's World Architecture Festival, and Carrasco International Airport in Uruguay by Rafael Viñoly. See more airport design on Dezeen.
Photography is by Hufton + Crow.
Here's some text from the design team:
New Gibraltar Airport Terminal
Gibraltar Airport's uniquely situated new terminal building is modern, dynamic, transparent and airy. Designed by bblur architecture with 3DReid and NACO, it is a world class facility which has created opportunities for flights from Spain and the rest of Europe to Gibraltar.
A unique and complex location
The new terminal is the first building visitors will see when they enter Gibraltar by air, road or on foot and is located immediately at the frontier, with the Rock as a backdrop. Sited within an extraordinary and spectacular landscape, it is bound by very tight constraints on all sides with the frontier with Spain to the North, the existing airport runway to the South, Winston Churchill Avenue to the West and tapering land with RAF restrictions to the East. The building is 2-storeys high and covers 19,600sqm.
A refined and elegant design solution
With over 20 years experience in aviation the design team approached this commission with consideration and empathy, and created an important public space both around and inside the terminal.
A large over-sailing roof, providing shade and shelter to the fully glazed walls which maximise views to the Rock and across the straits toward Africa and the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, reflects the terminal's aviation function and maritime location.
The forecourt creates a new landscaped park providing a generous welcome to Gibraltar and the airport and an identifiable 'place' at the frontier, a place to meet and greet whether on a local or extended journey.
There are double height spaces within the terminal and an extensive airside roof terrace, designed as an extension to the departures lounge. The terminal which operates over two levels with an area of 19,600sqm has a primary check in and arrivals concourse at ground floor on the West side of the terminal. The terminal was also designed to accommodate entry and exit of passengers directly at the frontier.
The airport's airside areas have also been reconfigured to provide 5 aircraft stands and a new airside facilities building.
Key design attributes
» Takes advantage of fantastic views over the airfield towards the rock
» Dramatic roof overhang and solar shading create a building which is architecturally significant and environmentally sensitive
» The use of glazing achieves transparency between the interior and exterior, allows the terminal to be predominantly naturally lit and provides extensive views out of the terminal.
» The fifth elevation (roof) very important as seen from the rock – use of roof lights which are laid out to visually guide passengers through some of the more internal routes. The roof lights generate subtle animation of the space throughout the day from throwing disks of diffused sunlight onto the floor to capturing the blue glow in the early evening.
Energy efficiency has been a key consideration. The design incorporates a large roof overhang to provide a high level of solar shading which maintains a cool environment. High performance double glazing and automated roller blinds contribute to enhanced energy performance.
Certain features of the design result from the building's proximity to the sea. In addition to the need for close attention to detailing and specifications for external elements because of the corrosive marine environment, there was also concern about maintaining the appearance of the glazing, not just from salt-saturated air but also wind-borne sand and dust particles. The design solution includes a special external cleansing system that intermittently rinses the façades to eliminate accumulated material. The de-ionised water used in the system further improves the effectiveness of the rinsing process.
Buro Happold's Fire Engineering developed a holistic fire safety design that integrates a combination of passive and active fire safety measures, along with management measures to combine to give a simple but robust fire strategy for the building. This provides several benefits: offering life safety protection to the large numbers of passengers and staff using the terminal, containing fire and smoke to limited areas, and reducing operational disruption in the event of an incident.
Team definition and roles
Daniel Bérubé and Matthew Bedward led the 3DReid design team from concept to planning scheme design until they left to form bblur architecture in 2008. bblur architecture and 3DReid agreed to collaborate throughout the design development and delivery phases of the project with Daniel Bérubé leading the project as concept guardian and lead designer working with 3DReid and the contractor to deliver the Terminal and associated infrastructure. This was to ensure that Dragados S.A., the Spanish contractor who was awarded the design-build contract of the Terminal and associated infrastructure works, remained faithful to the original design intent.
During the course of the project delivery bblur architecture was also commissioned to design the interiors of the terminal, and to redesign the terminal forecourt and adjacent public realm with Spacehub. In addition to the main terminal building, bblur architecture and 3DReid have designed the Park & Ride facility, a 6 level multi-storey car park, on the opposite side of runway.
Client: Government of Gibraltar
Architect: bblur architecture and 3DReid
Engineers: Buro Happold
Main contractor: Dragados S.A.
Aviation Consultants: NACO B.V.
Landscape Consultants: Spacehub
Project Management Gibraltar Land Reclamation Company
Above: site plan - click for larger image
Above: ground floor plan - click for larger image
Above: first floor plan - click for larger image
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