World”s Most Spectacular New Airports …

Changi airport, Singapore (opening 2018)

Architect Moshe Safdie – who designed the iconic Habitat 67 housing complex in Montreal – began construction on a new development at Singapore’s Changi airport in December 2014. Featuring a ‘Forest Valley’, ‘Jewel Gardens’ and a 130ft-high (40m) waterfall called a ‘Rain Vortex’, it looks more like the Land of Oz than an air hub; trees, palms and ferns are enclosed within a 134,000sq m glass dome. Scheduled for completion in 2018, the Jewel complex will be linked by pedestrian bridges to existing terminals, offering space for shops and restaurants alongside the foliage. Safdie has said that the project is “the prototype of a new kind of urban place”. (Safdie Architects)


Mexico City international airport, Mexico (opening 2018)

In September 2014, British architecture firm Foster and Partners won a competition to design what will be one of the world’s largest airports when it is completed in 2018. Working with Mexican firm Fernando Romero Enterprise, Foster and Partners unveiled plans for a 555,000 sq m terminal enclosed within a lightweight shell. The new international airport for Mexico City has been designed to accommodate increasing passenger numbers and has echoes of Foster’s plans for the world’s first private spaceport in New Mexico. The structure is pre-fabricated, allowing for rapid construction without scaffolding. The new building will harness the sun’s energy as well as collecting rainwater and maintaining interior temperatures using natural ventilation. (Foster and Partners/Fernando Romero Enterprise)


Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport, India (opened 2014)

Designed to reference the feathers in a peacock’s tail – and mirror traditional Indian open-air pavilions – the concrete canopy on this new terminal is part of a wider trend to reflect local architecture within airports. This addition to Mumbai airport was opened in February 2014 and is the vision of US firm SOM, whose website says that “just as the terminal celebrates a new global, high-tech identity for Mumbai, the structure is imbued with responses to the local setting, history, and culture”. (Robert Polidori/SOM)


Shenzhen Bao’an international airport, China (opened end of 2013)

Covered with a honeycomb pattern and a whopping 1.5km (0.9 miles) long, the new terminal at Shenzhen Bao’an was designed to evoke the shape of a manta ray, according to its architects Studio Fuksas. The architects rather poetically describe it as “a fish that breathes and changes its own shape, undergoes variations, turns into a bird to celebrate the emotion and fantasy of a flight”. The design continues into the interiors, its hexagonal skylights allowing natural light in with a dappled effect. (Archivio Fuksas)


Chongqing Jiangbei international airport, China (opening 2015)

Architects ADPI continue the trend towards green space in airports in their plans for a new terminal at Chongqing Jiangbei. With two wings referencing Chongqing’s two rivers, the structure is set within a park: once completed, the terminal will be able to handle 55m passengers a year, ranking the airport among the world’s 15 largest. (ADPI)


Pulkovo International Airport, Russia (opened 2014)

Designed by Grimshaw architects to work with the extremes of climate in St Petersburg, the new terminal at Pulkovo airport features monumental folded ceilings clad in metal panels that recall the gilded spires of churches in the city. A series of linked zones is intended to reflect St Petersburg’s landscape of islands and bridges. Opening in February 2014, the building has a large flat roof with folded structures beneath that distribute weight away from the middle to offer support during heavy snowfall. Once construction on a second and final phase of the project is completed in 2015, the airport will cater for 17m passengers a year. (Grimshaw)


Istanbul New Airport, Turkey (opening 2019)

Grimshaw is also in charge of a team designing a new six-runway airport in Istanbul which aims to accommodate 90m passengers a year once it opens in 2019, before increasing its capacity to 150m after completion. Featuring a vaulted canopy, the airport’s Terminal One will cover a site of nearly 100 hectares (0.4 sq miles) – the architects say it will become the “world’s largest airport terminal under one roof” once finished. “We were inspired by the local use of colours and patterns, the quality of light and how it penetrates buildings, as well as by traditional architecture such as the Süleymaniye Mosque,” claims Tomas Stokke, the director of Haptic, which is collaborating with Grimshaw and Nordic Office of Architecture on the project. (Grimshaw/Nordic Office of Architecture/Haptic) 


Mount Fuji Shizuoka airport, Japan

Pritzker Prize-winner Shigeru Ban is designing a terminal for the airport at the base of Mount Fuji. Inspired by the tea plantations surrounding the mountain, his plans include green barrel vaults. Inside, natural light is diffused by a roof canopy made out of twisted laminated wood – latticing being a signature style of the Japanese architect. (Shigeru Ban)