Above and beyond: bringing our structural expertise to airport roofs

Ever since Buro Happold was founded in 1976, we have been intrigued by the challenges involved in creating lightweight structural systems.

Building on that bedrock of engineering capability to include long-span steel grid shell roofs as a speciality, the practice has developed an enviable portfolio of cutting-edge design and become well known for high-end engineering.

This is especially true for the more complex geometric forms – most obviously roofs because they’re so easy to see. For examples that have caught the public’s imagination, just look at great Buro Happold projects like the British Museum’s Queen Elizabeth II Great Court and West Kowloon Terminus Station.

Queen Elizabeth ll Great Court, The British Museum, London, UK.
Queen Elizabeth ll Great Court, The British Museum, London. Image: Mandy Reynolds

Bringing our structural expertise to airport roofs

More recently, airports have become a growth area where Buro Happold’s expertise has been put towards creating some exceptional roofs. Airports process millions of people. They need to be large spaces to do this, which often means big roofs. These roofs are the perfect place to express creativity on a grand scale and really put a client’s airport on the map.

A roof that really makes a statement is the first impression or parting view for all passengers.

This aesthetic approach to design has become more popular because air travel has evolved as an experience while the industry is increasingly competitive. Airports have become much more than just transportation hubs – they are now destinations that people choose to pass through (or avoid) as part of their journey.

Libreville Airport, Gabon. Image: HOK
Libreville Airport, Gabon. Image: HOK

Engineering airports worth looking at

Going further, with spectacular structures like Buro Happold’s Jewel Changi Airport roof design, people who aren’t even flying will want to come and have a look. Drawing on knowledge gained from a plethora of projects, Buro Happold is helping our airport clients create efficient roofs that make a lasting impression.

New Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Baku, Azerbaijan.
New Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Baku, Azerbaijan. Image: Buro Happold

Here are some of my favourites that we’ve worked on so far:

Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore 
New Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Azerbaijan
Beijing Daxing International Airport, China
Libreville Airport, Gabon

Julian is Buro Happold’s UK Aviation Sector lead. He and a team of other leading Buro Happold airport design and planning specialists and people flow experts will be at Passenger Terminal Expo 2019 in London from 26-28 March. Drop by and meet them on stand 5165 or book an appointment in advance – find out more.

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