When we talk about any design, the key point is to decipher its target audience and objective about it. In the case of airports, the most important is the commuter and the purpose of the space is to enable a smooth and short movement of the user throughout. Circulation is what we look at when we want to identify a good transit hub. Understanding the patterns and organizing chaos efficiently is what airport design is all about. Since the airport is a place where the commuter has to spend a significant amount of time before boarding the plane, spaces inside are dedicated to activities to keep the people occupied and experience leisure.
Airports in India have evolved drastically in not such a long duration of time. Addressing varying crowds and large numbers, many airports are designed which flourish that it is nothing but incredible as a design.
1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai
Designed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM), this airport stands apart from the rest by the composition it creates with the context and is a visual pleasure. Using the national bird peacock as an inspiration, the design is incorporated in the mushroom columns that hold the vast canopy at the terminal 2 of the airport. The inside is smartly divided into levels to disperse the people and not make it look like a crowded place. With a bright color scheme with white and tones complementing it, the interior also showcases installations representing vernacular and local art.
2. Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi
A stunning visual sight for the travelers, it is the largest airport in the country with a huge footfall. The design of the airport captures the traditional essence of the country and gives out a glimpse into the culture that is the soul of the nation. With a play in different texture tones and vibrant colors, the interiors of the busy hub make you want to explore around and see the various tell-tale installations and artworks displayed.
3. Rajiv Gandhi International airport, Hyderabad
It is one of India’s busiest airports, handling 40 million passengers through seamless crowd control while being environmentally conscious. The terminal building itself is designed to capture the Indian spirit by combining lush outdoor park areas with a tent covered plaza. The masterplan allocated areas for railway services, hotels, cargo, maintenance facilities, and an extensive airport city. There is room for expansion without affecting neighboring areas, and the airside taxiway system makes aircraft movement on the ground as short and sweet as possible.
4. Chennai International Airport, Chennai
The plan for Chennai airport has been carved from the architect’s inception of intelligent planning, efficient zoning, and sustainable building strategies. The terminal buildings, designed in H- shape, follow the minimum travel distance of a passenger. By scooping out the redundant mass of the terminal, the architects have infused a green spine with vertical gardens. Thereby it not only permits the maximum flow of natural light but breaks the monotony and tension inside the airport. It is a design stroke creating seven visible facets connecting the two worlds of infrastructure and nature. While it doesn’t have many modern facilities as per international standards, it has undergone expansions to include parallel runways and taxiways.
5. Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru
Just like the rest of the city of Bangalore, the Kempegowda International Airport is complete with massive lawns and beautiful flowering gardens all around. HOK’s designs for the T1 expansion unify existing and new facilities under one dramatic swooping and curving roof. The undulating wave of the roof will provide the terminal with a greater physical presence and create a dramatic canopy to the main entrance, offering passengers and public protection from the weather. Inside the terminal, the radiant interiors will mirror the rich culture of the state of Karnataka and the vibrant colors of the garden city.
For architects, the focus is not merely on moving travelers from curbside to gate as smoothly as possible but trying to improve the ambiance of travel. As cities compete to offer the best facilities to frequent flyers, architects are creating inspirational projects that give travelers reasons to linger a little longer. By and large, people don’t mind walking through a well-designed space, although adequate provisions must be made for passengers with reduced mobility, including older travelers.
At the end of the day, ensuring quick, easy connections in addition to a pleasant arrival and departure experience is the fundamental holy grail of terminal design.