Futuristic ... perspectives of Kuwait International Airport.

Futuristic ... perspectives of Kuwait International Airport.

Airport to expand for 50m passengers

December 2011

CONSTRUCTION work is expected to commence next year on a major project to expand Kuwait International Airport, as part of plans to significantly increase capacity and establish Kuwait City as a new regional air hub.

New designs drawn up by Foster + Partners envisage the construction of a futuristic terminal housed in a four-storey (plus one underground level) state-of-the-art building, which will provide the highest levels of comfort for passengers and will set a new environmental benchmark for airport buildings. Kuwait’s new travel hub will aim for a Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating, making it the first terminal to attain this environmental accreditation.

The aerodynamically-inclined trefoil plan of the terminal – which rises to a height of 39 m and has a footprint of 140,000 sq m – allows for three symmetrical wings of departure gates. Given its location, much of the eco-friendly building’s design is geared to both mitigate and harness the power of the sun: the concrete structure provides thermal mass and the roof incorporates a large expanse of photovoltaic panels.

Each facade spans 1.2 km and extend from a dramatic 25-m-high central space. The terminal balances the enclosure of this vast area with a design that is passenger-friendly; for simplicity and ease of use there are few level changes and walking distance have been kept below 600 m from the centre to the ends of the terminal

The concrete shell roof structure consists of 78 perimeter and 12 internal structural bays, with typical bays featuring a 45-m glass façade protected by canopy. The building is planned under a 60-m-span single roof canopy, punctuated by glazed openings that filter daylight, while deflecting direct solar radiation. The canopy extends to shade a generous entrance plaza and is supported by tapering concrete columns – their fluid, organic forms draw inspiration from the contrast between the solidity of the stone and movement of Kuwait’s traditional dhow sailing boats.

The project will be built on a total area of 510 ha with the landside area occupying approximately 150 ha and airside approximately 360 ha. Two transit hotels will be located on the airside.

The plan currently consists of two parallel runways (a third runway has been planned), two passenger terminal buildings, a heavy maintenance facility, cargo facility, fuel farm and the Al Mubarak Air Force Base for the Kuwait Air Force.

The site has a flexible masterplan, with the terminal strategically located to anticipate and enable future expansion. The airport will accommodate 13 million passengers per year in the first phase, with the flexibility to increase to 25 million passengers in the next and eventually to accommodate 50 million passengers. The first phase will provide 120 check-in counters and the capacity to handle up to 2.930 pieces of baggage per hour, while in the next phase this will rise to 180 check-in counters and 5,390 bags per hour, respectively.

The new terminal will have a new landside access sequence from the south as a new road connects from the King Faisal Motorway 51 and the Seventh Ring Road. There are plans to establish a metro linking the airport to Kuwait City Centre.

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