Work: Chennai International Airport
The new Chennai International Airport is an innovative model of engineering, architecture, landscape and sustainable design. The great free-span structure (35 meters) features a dramatic, hovering twin wing-like roof, completely shading the south-facing elevation and protecting departing passengers from seasonal rain. The organization and clarity of passenger circulation, visibility and security forms the basis of an efficient plan with two sustainable indigenous gardens at its center. Unlike any other airport in the world, these gardens are visible throughout the terminal, creating a unique dialogue between interior and exterior spaces.
The building’s steel truss structure rises with a gently curved roof to create a light and open 260 meter-long column-free terminal. Skylights follow the geometry of the trusses to further highlight the structural framework and allow natural light to permeate the terminal. Organization is straightforward and efficient for clear circulation and optimal visibility for airport security. The building volume is clearly divided into distinct landside and airside volumes that are connected with a single, central security checkpoint for departing passengers and glass bridges on either side of the building for arriving passengers.
The terminal’s 30-meter-high, wing-like roofs direct rain water to the courtyard runnels, shallow reflecting pools and cisterns so that water storage doubles as decorative water features. On ground level, the courtyards are organized by lush and colorful indigenous plantings that reference the rich agricultural landscape of the region. The parking garage has an undulating green roof that rises upward toward the new terminal, providing a vibrant foreground to this unique airport experience.