This elegant trefoil plan is the new Kuwait International Airport designed by global architecture firm Foster + Partners. The concept looks to set a new environmental benchmark for the aviation sector through its considered response to the Gulf’s intensely hot climes. With the ability to facilitate 13 million passengers each year, the flexible designs will enable this figure to climb to 25 million or 50 million with further development.
Split into three identical wings, the airport is defined by a human scale with level changes kept to a minimum. The facade of each wing spans 1.2km meeting in the centre at a cavernous 25m-high atrium. Chief Executive of Foster + Partners, Mouzhan Majidi explains: “The emblematic three-winged form will be as memorable from the air as from the ground - a new symbol of contemporary Kuwait, which resonates with its rich culture and history.”
Sustainability is a strong theme in this extensive project, with Foster + Partners targeting LEED Gold. If the scheme achieves this it will be the first passenger terminal in the world to attain this level of environmental accreditation. A large number of photovoltaic panels will be installed on the building’s roof, taking advantage of the strong Kuwait sunshine whilst the heavy concrete structure will provide thermal mass.
The entire building will be formed under one roof canopy, with glazed openings permitting shafts of sunlight into the grand internal spaces. Majidi continues: “The scale of the airport show’s Kuwait’s great foresight in recognising the benefits of strategic investment in future infrastructure. The environmental ambitions driving the project are equally impressive.”