A gateway to Ireland

Tuesday 11 Sep 2012

New terminal in Dublin offers intuitive journey for passengers

The brief for the new Dublin Airport Terminal 2 was both technical - to design a terminal building of 75,000 sq m, with a 25,000 sq m pier - and aspirational; to design a gateway to Ireland, and provide a passenger experience that results in an intuitive journey.

The two parts of the terminal are joined by a bridge with a simple elegant roof which unifies the architectural form. The two curved planar forms placed back to back respond to the site allowing daylight in and views out.

On entering the terminal into the check-in hall (the biggest room in Ireland) escalators and rooflights over, highlight the route to departures. As you reach the transition from the landside to airside, on the central bridge, huge curved fabric ceilings mark the threshold like two martello towers guarding the entrance to a harbour, or indeed a gateway to a country. Once over this threshold the skylight indicates a route through the departure lounge to the awaiting aircraft. Most importantly the efficiency of the plan and clarity of the natural wayfinding have created a calming passenger experience.

The internal volume of the check-in hall forms a dynamic and encapsulating space, with a triple height volume enhanced by natural light from above. This space is unique in airport design in that it enables both departing and arriving passengers to experience the same spectacular environment.

The interior of the building references local materials and is based upon a unique Irish palette. Rich ‘peat' colours are used at ground level, whilst natural woods and granites are used further up the building. The blue glass of the lifts is seen as the water running through this Irish landscape.

This unique design creates a legible and memorable experience for the passengers and ensures the building lives up to its objective as a national transportation hub.

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