GAP plans to create ‘the best airport in Mexico’ with Guadalajara Airport

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Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP) has unveiled ambitious plans to invest $504 million before 2026 in the development of Guadalajara Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport in Mexico.

Plans to create the ‘best airport in Mexico’ include an additional runway and new terminal building, as well as, in the short-mid term a radical new $302 million redesign of the commercial space in the existing facility which is expected to be open in 2023. The Design Solution has been appointed to deliver the redesign with the new space due to open on a phased basis over the next two years. It is working alongside the project’s commercial consultants, Pragma Consulting, in fulfilling the approved proposal.

Terminal redesign

The new plan for the commercial space optimises previously under-utilised areas and creates a new vibrancy to the passenger experience with a significantly enlarged commercial zone. The two security areas are retained and passengers are now drawn towards the airside heart of the terminal, a newly revitalised area overlooking the apron, surrounded by a mix of retail, bars, restaurants and other customer service facilities.

“Our first task was to rationalise the passenger flows through the terminal to create an intuitive route in the airside commercial area. With this approach, passengers have much more direct engagement with the greater exposure given to stores, restaurants, bars, pop-ups and seasonal event experiences,” explains Graeme Johsn, Director of the Design Solution. He also referenced the challenges associated with transforming older terminals and especially those that were built before commercial revenues became so important.

“These new designs will create a world class facility and passsenger experience fitting for GAP’s ambitions to transform Guadalajara International Airport and to maximise its commercial potential. ”

Raul Revuelta, Chief Executive Officer, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (pictured) added, “We first worked with The Design Solution at Sangster Montego Bay Airport in Jamaica, one of our other operated airports. Shortly after, we appointed them to work at Los Cabos Airport in Mexico and now on to Guadalajara. We have worked together as a team over many months to create something we believe will transform the terminal, both in terms of bringing passengers the best travel experience as well as growing our commercial offer. In the core airside commercial area, we currently have 5,700 sq. m. and that will increase to 7,250 sq. m.”

He added that while the pandemic means the implementation phase of the plans will likely take longer than originally hoped, “we look forward to a phased approach to achieving this vision.”

Sense of place

One of the key areas of the redesign is the flat roof canopy, located outside the centre of the terminal building, over an expanded baggage area. The proposal is to transform this into a signature feature of the terminal, with an external garden terrace, surrounding an Agave-inspired architectural shade pod, offering informal seating areas, planting and a dining space. Heavily planted areas include trees to complement the minimalistic concrete benches with low level under-lighting, combining to create a light, contemporary and natural landscape look and feel. The exterior aesthetic is further enhanced with the application of resin-bound aggregate floor finishes and warm natural materials.

Meanwhile, a large rotunda space directly after the duty free store, will enable passengers to pause, check flight information and plan how to spend their time before proceeding to their departure gate. a large aura formation of pendant lights, made from a Mexican porcelain enamel and designed by a local contemporary design studio is suspended within the space creating a striking statement with a local sense of place.

Guadalajara is home to Mexico’s thriving software industry and the airport handled around 15 million passengers in 2019. The planned development at the regional hub will increase capacity to 30 million passengers per year, an increase of 60% more flights. Pre-pandemic passenger growth was double-digit and the airport anticipates a return to growth in due course.

Nashville Airport highlights importance of sustainable design

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Designed by Fentress Architects, Nashville Airport’s new Concourse D has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, in recognition of the project’s sustainable, wellness-oriented design and construction process.

The certification makes Nashville’s new $292 million, 115,000 sq. ft. concourse one of only five constructed airport facilities in the US, and one of nine airport facilities worldwide, to earn LEED Silver under the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) rigorous LEED v4 standards.

The most widely used green building rating system in the world, LEED is seen as an international symbol of excellence. The programme’s performance-based approach and progressive sustainability benchmarks are designed to optimise building performance and support occupant health and wellbeing.

“Fentress Architects has been at the forefront of green building design for over four decades,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects. “Energy conservation is a key element of not only our design approach, but our values as a firm. We are proud to have leveraged our expertise, along with the commitment of all partners involved in this significant project, to realise BNA’s forward-thinking sustainability standards.”

The expansion of the airport’s concourse was completed in July 2020 and has elevated the airport as a world-class facility with six domestic aircraft gates, public art, diverse traveller amenities, and improved ramp amenities and function space.

Commenting on the LEED certification as a coveted mark of environmental distinction, Nashville Airport’s President and CEO Dough Kreulen said: “We’re building not only a bigger airport, but also a better, greener, more sustainable airport. I’m proud of our commitment to these principles and appreciative of all the hard work that went into obtaining this recognition.”

The project’s green design and construction components include: electrochromic glass that blocks out excessive sunlight and heat for passengers’ comfort while reducing glare and energy consumption for climate control; energy efficient and programmable lighting that dims when natural light is adequate for visibility; a focus on human health and wellness with features including an abundance of dayglighting, green cleaning practices and water bottle filling stations; light-coloured building and paving materials that retain less heat, reducing energy use while mitigating heat-island effect; geothermal cooling; water-conserving plumbing and recycling bins throughout the concourse and 80% of construction waste diverted from landfills.

“At every stage of the project, from the design process to construction, the project team remained committed to aligning our approach with the airport’s sustainability targets,” said Deborah Lucking, AIA LEED AP BD+C, Director of Sustainability at Fentress Architects. “Fentress is committed to advancing sustainability and human wellness in the built environment and achieving LEED  v4 Silver showcases the project team’s dedication to going far beyond the minimum LEED requirements to achieve certfication,” she concluded.

To find out more about terminal architecture and design trends for regional hubs check out the latest issue of Regional Gateway magazine.

daa International named as operator of new Red Sea Airport

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Dublin Airport Authority (daa) International has been named as the operator of a new airport at Saudia Arabia’s Red Sea Development Project.

A major development project being built over 28,000 square km on Saudi Arabia’s west coast, the Red Sea Project has been billed as a luxury tourism destination. The first phase of the project, which includes the construction of the new airport, as well as up to 3,000 hotel rooms, recreational facilities and residential properties, is due to be completed by the end of 2022.

The Red Sea International Airport, which is being designed by architecture firm Foster + Partners, is set to serve one million passengers annually by the project’s completion in 2030, with a peak capacity of 900 passengers per hour.  The terminal has taken its inspiration from the local landscape and aims to provide a tranquil and memorable experience for passengers from the moment they arrive and aims to emulate the experience of a private aircraft terminal to every passenger.

A subsidiary of daa, which operates Dublin and Cork airports, daa International has been operating Terminal 5 at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, since it opened in 2016. As the operator of Saudi Arabia’s new airport it will provide airfield and terminal operations, aviation services, facilities management and it will oversee commercial activities, as well as corporate and financial services.

“Our state-of-the-art airport will provide a unique gateway for guests arriving at our destination, and this announcement is an important step in bringing the experience to life, ahead of welcoming visitors by the end of 2022,” said John Pagano, Chief Executive of TRSDC. “daa International was selected because we are confident that they can deliver not only an airport experience worthy of our luxury destination, but for their commitment to ensuring our sustainability goals are met.”

Nick Cole, Chief Executive daa International added: “The Red Sea International Airport will become a fundamental part of each visitor’s journey to this unique destination, and we believe their holiday experience should start from the moment they land. We intend to deliver a seamless airport experience for passengers, underpinned by a commitment to achieving the development company’s stringent sustainability goals.”

Stage one of managing the new airport’s operations will involve ensuring that all airport designs benefit the customer. Stage two will cover planning a full and seamless operational model for when the airport opens to the public, while the final stage will be to manage and operate this plan, maintaining the highest standards in customer experience and sustainability, while prioritising safety and security.

Construction of a runway, seaplane runway, taxiways, helipads and a road network for the airport is already well underway. On completion in 2030, the Red Sea Project will comprise 50 hotels, up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

Arconas unveils new seating, power and lighting collection

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Arconas has unveiled is new furniture collection of seating, power and lighting designed for public interiors, including airports. The Hopscotch collection is a series of innovative and streamlined modular components inspired by minimal yet playful playground sketches.

The Hop bench is characterised by its minimalistic and sculptural design and features full upholstery over plush padding for comfort. The robust structure is designed to withstand high-impact spaces. The Surge power station meanwhile doubles as a table or work surface, as well as providing a place to charge personal electronic devices. It features eight USB ports, four AC plugs and two wireless charging spots. And the Beacon light station is a triangular LED floor lamp created to softly illuminate a space and can be place in a space by itself or beside other furniture configurations.

“The Hopscotch collection offers a myriad of combinations, provides a touch of luxury to public space furnishing, and makes comfort available to all users. This is high density seating with a modern touch,” said Keith Rushbrook, Partner at REPUBLIC of II BY IV, the firm tasked with designing the collection.

Pablo Reich, Executive Vice President of Arconas added that, “The multiple configuration options provide flexibility to create customised social stations – which include but are not limited to – temporary waiting areas, short-term work spaces, charging stations, reading zones, coffee corners and conversational hubs.”