The terminal at Zayed International Airport in the United Arab Emirates was constructed by the architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, and has an undulating ceiling inspired by geometric patterns and sand dunes.

Previously called Abu Dhabi International, the airport’s new Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) terminal was intended to increase capacity to 45 million passengers and serve as a “civic landmark” for the area.

“From the outset, our goal was for the airport to serve the emirate and represent the city of Abu Dhabi, with a design that referenced its cultural and natural environment,” said KPF design principal Mustafa Chehabeddine.

“We established a design language for continuity and flow throughout the project, developing a set of guidelines that ensured each element of the terminal, from the check-in desks to the lighting chandeliers, felt as though it belonged in the building.”

The undulating roof form was draped over the facade to minimize the effects of the desert sun, which also eliminated the requirement for exterior shade systems and decreased the quantity of glazing required.

Inside, a 180-meter-long single roof supported by arches housed a 50-meter-tall departure hall with a floor covered in mosaic stone, creating an interior area that was mostly column-free.

The airport’s X-shaped layout and four piers that branch off from the terminal center are organized into themes of “desert, sea, city, and oasis” to facilitate wayfinding. KPF deliberately built the terminal to maximize operational efficiency.

In addition, the airport has offices and hotel rooms housed in two four-story buildings on either side of the departure hall.

“We were driven by focussing on customer experience and comfort while creating the most efficient building form,” said KPF director Jens Hardvendel.

“The X-shaped plan provides the greatest programmatic efficiencies, reducing the average walking distance between points for those leaving, arriving, or transferring from Terminal A.”

The interior of the terminal was decorated with a number of “landmarks” intended to lead travelers, create curiosity among guests, and balance the expansive layout of the facility.

Sana Al Nour, a 22-meter-tall and 30-meter-wide installation created by Carpenter Lowings inside KPF, is one of these iconic structures. It is composed of 1,632 individual curving leaves of translucent glass.

At the conclusion of the passenger’s journey is another piece called The Shell, which is a sculpture composed of polished brass and corten steel with a glass exterior.

A “terminal in a garden” designed by SOM at Bangalore Airport and a terminal at Boston Airport featuring a sleep red roof are two other recently finished airports.

Topics #Abu Dhabi Airport #KPF #Sand Dunes