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NEWS Last modified on September 4, 2014

Designs of planned new airport in Mexico City revealed

Picture courtesy of Foster + Partners Picture courtesy of Foster + Partners

Mexico's new international airport will be built by a collaboration between Foster + Partners, FR-EE (Fernando Romero Enterprise) and NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants) Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has announced.

In the presence of the Governor of the State of Mexico, government ministers, the Mayor of Mexico City, Lord Foster and Fernando Romero, the president declared the winner yesterday.

Foster + Partners details the project on its website, and says at 555,000 square metres, it will be one of the world’s largest gateways, and be conceived with its engineering team.

The firm adds the project revolutionises airport design with the entire terminal is enclosed within a continuous lightweight gridshell, embracing walls and roof in a single, flowing form, evocative of flight.

Foster + Partners says it will be designed to be the world’s most sustainable airport, the compact single terminal uses less materials and energy than a cluster of buildings.

The design ensures short walking distances and few level changes, it is easy to navigate, and passengers will not have to use internal trains or underground tunnels, and Foster + Partners say it will be a “celebration of space and light”.

mexico foster2Picture courtesy of Foster + Partners

Designed to be flexible in operation, its design will anticipate the predicted increase in passenger numbers to 2028 and beyond, and its development will be the catalyst for the regeneration of the surrounding area.

The airport is planned on a new site with three runways, and an expansion plan up to 2062 with an eventual six runways.

With spans in excess of 100 metres, three times the span of a conventional airport, it has a monumental scale inspired by Mexican architecture and symbolism, and the maximum span internally is 170 metres.

The lightweight glass and steel structure and soaring vaulted roof will be designed for Mexico City’s challenging soil conditions.

Its unique pre-fabricated system can be constructed rapidly, without the need for scaffolding, and the airport will be a showcase for Mexican innovation, built by Mexican contractors and engineers.

Foster + Partners explain the entire building will be serviced from beneath, freeing the roof of ducts and pipes and revealing the environmental skin, and the hardworking structure harnesses the power of the sun, collects rainwater, provides shading, directs daylight and enables views – all while achieving a high performance envelope that meets high thermal and acoustic standards.

foster mexico3Picture courtesy of Foster + Partners

The LEED Platinum design will also work with Mexico City’s temperate, dry climate to fill the terminal spaces with fresh air using displacement ventilation principles. For a large part of the year, comfortable temperatures will be maintained by almost 100% outside air, with little or no additional heating or cooling required. 

Lord Foster, explains: “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.

“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.”

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