Blue sky thinking: five ways we’re improving airports

What makes an excellent airport? The answer is more than just short queues, friendly staff and ample opportunity to purchase gigantic Toblerone bars.

Here are just five critical elements of successful airport design that Buro Happold helps our clients to get right.

Image: istockphoto

1 – Passenger experience

By combining creative thinking with engineering excellence, we produce terminal designs that anticipate, respond to and fulfil the full range of passenger needs.

As seen in…Hamburg Airport, Germany

We appraised several design options for a new retail area and circulation space. The aim was to devise a scheme that would be most effective in terms of space utilisation, passenger comfort and retail visibility. Static and dynamic models for rapid design testing and comparison were developed using our in-house people flow simulation software.

2 – Security

Buro Happold considers mitigation measures to prevent all compromises from internal and external threats. Our harmonious solutions are fastidiously integrated with the client vision. A robust – but flexible – approach ensures regulatory compliance while respecting passenger comfort.

As seen in… Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Azerbaijan

Our security design covered all personnel screening at the terminal frontage, central security screening and departure gate screening, the design and integration of the Terminal Control Centre and all field devices with their associated infrastructures. Collaborating across three continents and 26 disciplines, we delivered efficiently while continually briefing the client.

Heydar Aliyev International Airport. Image: Buro Happold

3 – Seamless integration

The needs of new or expanded airport facilities can have a huge impact on the complex networks that serve them. Our engineers expertly assess existing infrastructure to develop strategies that work while maintaining operational business as usual.

As seen in… Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 transport interchange, UK

Buro Happold successfully oversaw the planning and detailed design of a complex network of belowground infrastructure. Crucial to the success of this project was the seamless integration of the new terminal building – and all associated networks – into the heart of an extremely busy airport while it remained operational.

The Jewel at Changi Airport features a staggering 40m tall indoor waterfall. Image: JCAD/Safdie Architects

4 – Connectivity and placemaking

Our team has worked on some of the world’s most iconic aviation projects. Delivering something a little bit different, we use our skill and flair to create striking international gateways.

As seen in… Jewel Changi Airport,  Singapore

Occupying a site of approximately 1.4 million ft2, the Jewel will enhance Changi Airport’s facilities and consolidate its position as a leading global hub. Buro Happold is providing a range of structural and facade engineering services to realise the spectacular structure, which is one of the largest gridshells on the planet.

5 – Sustainability

We aim to deliver a balance of social, environmental and economic value by using sustainable design that improves airport performance and quality.

As seen in… Gardermoen International Airport, Norway

Buro Happold embedded sustainable and energy-efficient solutions in providing a range of integrated services for this airport expansion. Doubling the size of the existing building, this project realised the greenest airport terminal in the world.

We helped realise the first BREEAM Excellent rated terminal building for Gardermoen International Airport. Image: Nordic Architects

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