Operations have begun in the extension of gate A at Rhein-Main airport, Frankfurt, designed by the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp). The new A+ gate extends the areas used by Lufthansa at Terminal 1 and was required independently of the extension of the airport extension program.
The design of this large project focused on three key areas: the conceptual integration of the new building into the existing ensemble while also creating an individual identity, complying with the new EU safety regulations for passenger handling, and creating a retail and lounge concept.
The 'root', the central marketplace with an extensive range of shops, restaurants and lounges, is located at the building interface between Terminal A and gate A+. Its glazed, cone-shaped opening allows daylight to reach the interior, opens the view towards the sky and creates vistas across the different levels of the marketplace.
At the same time, passengers are able to see the apron and aeroplanes through a wide opening on the flight side. Individual, specialist retail and gastronomy concepts were tied into an over-arching design principle. Transparency and daylight combined with simple and natural materials generate a pleasant atmosphere.
Gate A+ extends towards the west following on from the 'root' and due to new EU safety regulations, the gate had to be designed with four upper storeys. As a result it is higher than the existing buildings but nevertheless resonates with the existing design.
Materials such as natural stone, metal and wood were used in similar fashion to Terminal 1, which creates a flowing transition between the existing and new buildings. New variations and combinations result in the gate ultimately acquiring its own independent style.
Ancillary functions such as escape stairs, services ducts and sanitary facilities were located along the northern edge. This has created a completely open space flooded with daylight which provides clarity and easy orientation.
The lighting design supports the differentiation of spaces with architectural means. Light islands and zones for the counter and boarding gate areas, and the retail and gastronomy zones, result in a lively canvas within the large space context and give further support for the orientation of passengers. In the evening, the artificial light flows to the outside through all openings and thus helps to define the architectural shape at night.
In spite of the differences between the gate building and the "root" area, the new development of the A+ area has been designed as an architectural unit and thus presents a cohesive appearance for the entire project, inside and out.