Naural identity

11 Sep 2012

New airport design in Nairobi offers the Kenyan Savanna experiance

The proposed Jomo Kenyatta Greenfield Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, is an inspirational vision of an ecologically-designed international airport grounded in the landscape and environment of Kenya. The triple bottom line of environmental, financial and social sustainability is emphasised in all parts of the design-resulting in a building that is distinctly Kenyan.

The airport's modern materials and building system enhance a design that evokes the stunning natural scenery of Kenya. Based on the characteristic lines of the Kenyan horizon-land, sky and mountains, the airport's landscape slopes up from the ground to meet the green roof, and continues into the terminal, forming courtyards and gardens. Through this connection to the natural surroundings, visitors and passengers can experience the essence of the Kenyan Savanna without leaving the terminal.

The temperate climate of Nairobi is a major driver for the building's sustainable design features. By creating a terminal envelope that sheds physical barriers and blurs the lines between exterior and interior spaces, the design minimizes required heating and cooling. This quantifiable gain elevates the terminal experience: by bringing vegetation and natural ventilation into the building, transit passengers can enjoy fresh air and the lushness of the Kenyan terrain.

Beyond its environmental features, the design speaks to the aspirations, heritage, and use patterns of Kenyans. The concept embraces how Kenyans use civic spaces. Specifically, departures and arrivals passenger flows accommodate pick-up and drop-off by large groups of family and friends, a cultural norm. Stylistically, the terminal reflects modern and vernacular Kenyan architectural traditions. Bold sculptural elements often seen in modern Kenyan buildings are interspersed with bundled structures and woven materials that lend their individual character and natural identity.

More than just an efficient transfer point, the airport offers Kenya a signature gateway to the globe and meets the needs of international air travelers in a thoughtful and memorable way.

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