The compact single terminal airport will be enclosed within a continuous lightweight grid- shell, embracing walls and roof in a single, flowing form, evocative of flight.
Built as a single terminal, the design will be easy to navigate. There will be short walking distances, few level changes and passengers will not have to use internal trains or underground tunnels.
Flexible in operation, its design anticipates 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.
The lightweight glass and steel structure and soaring vaulted roof are designed for Mexico City’s challenging soil conditions. Its unique pre-fabricated system can be constructed rapidly, without the need for scaffolding, with the airport to be a showcase for Mexican innovation, built by Mexican contractors and engineers.
The entire building is serviced from beneath, freeing the roof of ducts and pipes and revealing the environmental skin. This 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.
The LEED Platinum design works with Mexico City’s temperate and 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.
The project will be a collaborative project between Foster + Partners, FR-EE (Fernando Romero Enterprise) and NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants) who won the international design competition.
Lord Foster commented, “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 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.”
Construction is due to start in 2015 and the airport is expected to open in 2018.