According to architect Foster + Partners, Mexico City’s new $9 billion airport will “revolutionise” airport design as its 470,000sqm terminal will be enclosed within a “continuous lightweight grid-shell, embracing walls and roof in a single, flowing form, evocative of flight”.
In line with the wishes of Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transport, the airport is also set to be one of the most sustainable on the planet, its single terminal building being designed to use less materials and energy than a cluster of buildings.
Its creators say the LEED Platinum design structure will harness the power of the sun, collect rainwater, provide shading, direct daylight and allow fantastic views – all while achieving a high performance envelope that meets high thermal and acoustic standards.
Indeed, for large parts of the year, the airport will be able to maintain ‘comfortable temperatures’ inside the building without the need for additional heating or cooling systems.
Foster + Partners’ chairman and founder, Lord Foster, says: “Stansted Airport’s reinvention of the conventional terminal in the 1990s was emulated worldwide – this breaks with that model for the first time.
“It 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.
“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.”
In addition to being part of the consortium designing the terminal, NACO – part of Royal HaskoningDHV – is a member of the joint venture which has won the tender to design the runways, taxiways, platforms and support buildings for the new airport, which is being built on the site of a former lake.
Its partners are fellow Dutch company Royal HaskoningDHV and Mexican engineering consultancies Grupo TADCO and Grupo SACMAG.
Rudolf Mulder, project manager at Royal HaskoningDHV, says: “We will extensively study the soil, its water balance and flood risks so we can safely design all runways and other civil works on this former lakebed.
“Our experience in coping with soft soils and flooding is the result of the fact that coming from the Netherlands we live in a delta below sea level ourselves, and work on projects in delta areas globally.”