Airport design inspired by the sculpted forms left by the unimpeded prairie winds
Fueled by unique operational parameters and a rich prairie landscape, this project becomes a one of a kind in Canada. The Edmonton International Airport (EIA) Combined Office / Control Tower lies within the colorful landscape of northern Alberta - the 'Gateway to the North'. The building is in response to EIA’s desire to create a symbol for the prairie regions, culture, and character that will form a first and lasting impression. In the north, the climate shapes you – it shapes how you live and it defines your culture.
Inspired by this notion, the design was influenced by the sculpted forms left by the unimpeded prairie winds such as the flowing grasses or lyrical forms of snow drifts. This project is a unique evolution of the air traffic control tower from a distant stand-alone beacon to one with combined functions. This evolution created an economy of the structure and required building systems.
Placing the unsecured tower airside, atop the existing terminal poses unique challenges. Security is maintained using ground-side public access and a mezzanine level bridge, which allows visitors and staff to occupy the tower without having to repeatedly clear security. Strict NAV Canada specifications for maintaining unobstructed sight lines to all aircraft gates required careful sculpting of the upper level building mass.
The tower works carefully to capitalise on the region’s dramatically changing climate. The use of sculptural zinc cladding, as well as optimal solar orientation, allows maximum daylight in the winter and passive shading in the summer. Designed as a LEED silver building, the rain water run-off collection system harnesses the elements to provide grey water throughout the airport.