In a big effort to entice more tourism, cities all over the globe have been fighting to construct mega-airports. And Mexico City is no exception; with a recently announced, enormous new airport proposal that is being dubbed the “most sustainable” in the world.
Mexico City has chosen a plan by trio of Foster + Partners, Fernando Romero Enterprise and Netherlands Airport Consultants. The architect behind Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport in the New Mexico desert, Norman Foster, is the head in this elaborate adventure. The Virgin Galactic Spaceport is a hyper-sustainable orb, which appears to rise from the landscape, and it looks as though he will be bringing the same bag of tricks to Mexico City.
The new Mexico City airport will be almost six million square feet in size, thereby making it one of the biggest on the planet. The entire structure will be under a single shell that spans over 350 feet in some places. This is instead of the standard terminal plan seen in most airports.
It may initially seem as though building a single superstructure would be counterintuitive to sustainability, if you house a enormous central hub with everything in one place, it will actually work out more energy efficient. For instance gates won’t require additional transportation, and there isn’t the need for energy to be used powering trams or constructing tunnels.
The whole structure will be one large area that will be designed for walking. Additionally, the structure itself will operate in a similar way to a giant solar farm and rainwater collection system. And when you combine that with a natural ventilation pattern you will not need heating or air conditioning for most part of the year, the designers claim.
Foster has been the man behind numerous airport redesigns, including the famous Stansted Airport, London, UK that was finished in 1991. For the Stansted airport, Foster has said he tried to return back to a more glamorous age of air travel where passengers strolled casually from their vehicles to their airplane. If you have ever been to Stansted, you will no doubt know that it is a very undersized airport, but you do see a very similar parking to departure gate layout in numerous airports everywhere. Foster says the singular entrance allows the airport to expand more efficiently, “It pioneers a new concept for a large-span, single airport enclosure, which will achieve new levels of efficiency and flexibility—and it 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.”
While Mexico City’s airport will no doubt be one of the largest around and it might be one of the most sustainable (time will tell), it is part of a larger, global trend that is pushing all of the functions of an airport into one cohesive hub.
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[Images via fosterandpartners]