It has been announced that a collaboration between Foster + Partners, FR-EE (Fernando Romero Enterprise) and NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants) has won a competition to design one of the largest airports on the planet. The new international airport will be located in Mexico City and will total 555,000 sq m to a design inspired by Mexican architecture and symbolism.
The winning concept centres on a grand terminal building with a lightweight gridshell in ‘a celebration of space and light’. This approach enables immense spans in excess of 100m - the largest being 170m - with a vaulted roof structure that provides a lasting impression for passengers.
Lord Norman Foster, Chairman and Founder of Foster + Partners, explains: “[The design] pioneers a new concept for a large-span, single airport enclosure, which will achieve new levels of efficiency and flexibility - and it will be beautiful. The experience for passengers will be unique.”
The design has been formed to reduce walking times for passengers, with limited level changes and no need for vehicular transfers. Sightlines are of crucial importance and clear navigation is a top priority. The collaboration has also stressed the optimum flexibility of the design, enabling future expansion in light of the predicted increase in passenger numbers over the coming decades.
Lord Foster continues: “Its design provides the most flexible enclosure possible to accommodate internal change and an increase in capacity. Mexico has really seized the initiative in investing in its national airport, understanding its social and economic importance and planning for the future. There will be nothing else like it in the world.”
Sustainability is also a leading factor in the design, with the winning concept aiming for LEED Platinum certification. In servicing the airport from beneath, the design team has opened up the building's environmental skin. This roof structure collects rainwater, offers shading, and harnesses the power of the sun, while enabling views to the surroundings and aiding interior acoustics.