Heller & Metzger in Washington, DC

Abu Dhabi International Airport Complex

United Arab Emirites / Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC

Located between two parallel runways, the 5.9-million-square-foot Midfield Terminal Complex for the Abu Dhabi International Airport, in concert with existing facilities, is designed to accommodate up to 20 million passengers. From the air, the new terminal resembles a gently curved X; each complete diagonal line of the ‘X’ measures more than 1 mile in length. The terminal will rise from the desert floor like a sand dune, with a soaring roof more than 150 feet high above the terminal’s main floor. The vast “civic heart” of the terminal building will include a hotel, office building, cultural outlets, shops, dining, lounges and a park-like garden. The undulating roof curves downward at the concourse piers, providing protection from the sun and defining a series of departure lounges. The specifications include requirements for stone flooring with 10 different types of stone; laminated glass partitions, screens, and ceilings utilizing more than 30 different types of glass, and exterior and interior tensioned fabric canopies and ceilings. The terminal has a strong sense of environmental sustainability. The series of waves and arches create a façade that automatically cuts out 50% of sunlight entering the building, and creates areas of shade. Other environmental objectives that guided the design include site-wide energy management; high performance thermal envelope; stratified air-conditioning systems; building controls; energy-recovery; low-energy lighting; daylighting; passive shading; high-quality, durable materials; and dry climate landscaping.