Last week, The Observer looked at the sorry state of New York City’s three major airports. Once the exemplars in the world, JFK, LaGuardia and Newark have fallen behind the times. The Port Authority is working to improve them all—plans for a new terminal at LaGuardia are coming along quite nicely, in fact—but still, these will be ho-hum operations, beholden to the challenges of modern American infrastructure, with our limited funds and ambition.
For a look at a truly grand airport, then, consider the work of local firm KPF, which just won the commission to design a new terminal for that mecca of Middle Eastern mega-development, Abu Dhabi.
A press release from the firm gives some sense of the new airports grandeur:
Within KPF’s master plan, the terminal is conceived as a gateway to the city. The design creates large, unimpeded internal zones that will enhance the passenger experience, and can accommodate long-term adaptability to industry demands. Uniquely engineered, long-span arches support a soaring roof and reach 50 meters at their highest point. Conversely, the internal scale of the departure hall endows the building with an openness that allows for meaningful connectivity between the outdoor landscaping and the indoor civic space.
Anthony Mosellie, KPF Principal-in-Charge, added “The Terminal Complex is designed to serve Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways well into the 21st century and act as a key driver for the UAE’s economy and growth for decades to come.”
The Midfield Terminal Complex is integral to Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, a framework for the Emirate’s future development and projected population growth. The ultimate capacity will exceed 50 million travelers and 2 million tons of cargo per year.
This must have been what it was like to live in New YOrk in the 1950s.