Twelve takes off in Russia

Nick Myall
08 Jan 2018

Twelve Architects has completed Platov Airport in Russia in preparation for the 2018 World Cup

Emerging London practice, Twelve Architects has completed a new airport in Rostov on Don, Russia. The £600 million project is the practice’s largest commission to date as it celebrates its fifth year of operation.

Platov Airport is the first new international airport to be built in Russia’s modern era. Situated 25 miles north of Rostov on Don, the administrative centre of Rostov Oblast and the Southern Federal District, it replaces the city’s previous airport which was not suitable for further expansion. As one of the host cities of the 2018 football World Cup, Rostov on Don expects to welcome thousands of visitors during the event.

The 50,000 m2 new airport terminal building creates the landmark required by the original competition brief. Formed of nine 16-metre-wide arches, the design envisages the airport as a ‘sky-bridge’ that connects Rostov to cities all over the world. A central eight-metre-wide glazed skylight marks the internal boundary between the international and domestic zones. 

The building is organised on an orthogonal, repetitive 16x16m grid to easily accommodate future expansion by adding roof elements and replacing lateral walls. Using repetitive modules and leaving the airside and landside facades untouched means that the airport will be able to remain in operation whilst expansion works are undertaken.

Twelve Architects’ design of the public areas centres on the passenger experience and making air travel enjoyable and memorable. Water, curved forms, carefully chosen materials and maximising natural light have been combined to create a comfortable, stress-free environment.

To create the warm, relaxed environment desired, and to overcome the Russian building code ban on timber to interior soffits, the practice has developed a bespoke metal panel system to clad the underside of the roof. This is combined with recessed lighting along each arch to delineate the curve.

The design concept of the ‘bridge arches’ has been incorporated into baggage reclaim area, with the luggage reclaim system forming extensions to the arched roof that connect down to the baggage carousels.

A range of passive and active environmental design measures are incorporated into the design to deal with the southern Russian climate which sees very cold winters and long, warm summers. The arched roof extends to form a canopy providing shading from solar gain and glare which is combined with high performance glazing to the facades.

Natural ventilation during the summer months is enabled both through the façade and through openable vents in the roof whilst high levels of insulation to the solid elements of the roof will prevent heat loss in winter months. The thermal mass of the floors absorbs heat and moderates internal temperature. The mechanical service strategy includes heat recovery that reclaims hot air, then mixes it with fresh air and recirculates it into the habitable spaces during the winter months.


Speaking about the completion of the project, which had its official opening on 25th November, co-Founder and Director of Twelve Architects Matt Cartwright said:

“It’s always a thrill to see a building completed and open, the culmination of many years’ work by the whole team. We are delighted with how closely the real Platov Airport resembles our original vision.

“This is a fantastic way to mark the fifth anniversary of Twelve Architects and it’s incredibly pleasing that we are speaking to a number of potential airport clients all over the world, building on this experience.”

As well as the passenger terminal, the first phase of development of the airport includes the construction of a 3700m runway, multi-storey car parks, a control tower, MRO hangar, office and hotel development and associated infrastructure. The new transport hub also includes provision for a future high-speed railway station as part of Russia’s planned railway network expansion.

The project was developed by Airports of the Region, part of the Renova Group (one of Russia’s leading private business conglomerates) which will also act as operator.

Nick Myall

News editor

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