Details Revealed for $6.8B Abu Dhabi Airport

An “X”-shaped design for the Midfield Terminal Complex will be the centerpiece of the $6.8 billion Abu Dhabi International Airport redevelopment, according to the officials at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the project’s master plan architect. Currently the largest airport development under construction in the Middle East, Phase I of the 5.9 million-square-foot terminal (pictured) will include 42 gates and will be completed in 2012. At that time, the airport is expected to handle an additional 20 million passengers a year. Eventually there will be more than 90 gates at the airport and it is projected to process more than 50 million passengers and more than 2 million tons of cargo each year. The project will also include a new control tower, cargo buildings, additional runways and commercial development. Kohn Pederson Fox, with headquarters in New York City, London and Shanghai, was selected in August 2006 to design the Midfield Terminal Complex. KPF is involved in various projects in the United Arab Emirates, including designing the headquarters for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. That design was recently cited as the Best Commercial/Office Building in the Middle East and Africa. Lee Polisano, KPF president, told CPN today about 40 people in the firm’s London office are working on the airport project along with a small team in Abu Dhabi. He added that KPF, which has been worked on projects in Abu Dhabi for over 10 years, is planning a permanent office in the UAE city. For the Midfield Terminal Complex, the KPF team adopted structural solutions that created large, column-free zones that will also allow for future space planning needs. The “X”-shaped plan has a large ticketing hall framed by a series of long-span steel arches supporting a soaring roof. The hall leads into a central area with a garden, a common piece of regional architecture and a nod to the capital city of the UAE, which is known as the “Garden of the Gulf.” The roof curves down the concourse piers providing shelter from the sun, but also defining the departure areas along the length of the building. Polisano said the “X” design is “an innovation and derivation that came out of the basic relationship between the Midfield Terminal and the two parallel runways.” He said passengers will enter in a great hall, which he described as a “big social place as well as a processing place for passengers.” They would then move into a sequence of other spaces, which includes the large garden and the commercial entities, including retail, cafes and other amenities. Polisano said the exact amount of space in the terminal devoted to commercial development has not been set but he described it as a “considerable amount.” Abu Dhabi’s airport moved to its present site in 1982. As the city has grown, so had the airport’s needs. Abu Dhabi Airports Co., the owner-operator of the airport, noted that April passenger traffic had increased by 40 percent over the same month in 2007. ADAC also stated that traffic was up 34 percent for the first quarter of the year. ADAC attributed the robust growth to several factors, including the increase in business-related travel to the growing conference and exhibitions sector and the capacity growth of the home airlines, Etihad Airways. Abu Dhabi is investing $136 billion in developing business and tourism assets, an Intercontinental Hotels Group executive told CPN on Jan. 14, 2008. John Bamsey, COO of Middle East and Africa for IGH, also stated the Abu Dhabi was aiming to increase visitor numbers from 1.35 million in 2006 to 3 million by 2015. The growth in tourism and business travel comes as the region’s population is also expected to hit more than 3 million by 2030.To Blog and Comment Click Here