3DReid and bblur Architecture realise sculptural 19,600 sq m airport terminal
Gibraltar Airport's uniquely situated new terminal building is modern, dynamic, transparent and airy. Designed by 3DReid and bblur architecture, it is a world class facility which has created opportunities for flights from Spain and the rest of Europe to Gibraltar.
The new terminal is the first building visitors will see when they enter Gibraltar by air, road or on foot as it is located immediately at the frontier, with the Rock as a backdrop. However though the airport is located within an extraordinary landscape, it is bound by very tight constraints on all sides. To the North there is the frontier with Spain plus existing airport runways to the South, Winston Churchill Avenue to the West and tapering land with RAF restrictions to the East.
The design team have used their extensive knowledge in aviation design and have 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 19,600 sq m 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.
Key design attributes include the extensive views which have been utilised to benefit not only the travellers but also those who work at the airport. In addition energy efficiency has been a key consideration for the architects throughout the project with particular consideration on the design of the roof.
The dramatic roof overhang and solar shading create a building which is architecturally significant and environmentally sensitive. In addition there has been 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 architects have implemented certain features to the design as a result of 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 has also included 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.