Madrid Barajas International Airport

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Madrid Barajas International Airport

The Barajas project is the largest so far undertaken by the practice - more than one million square metres of buildings with a budget of around one billion Euros. The new terminal and satellite are designed to handle up to 35 million passengers annually, establishing Madrid as a major European hub, and are located some distance to the north-west of the existing terminal complex.

The new terminal features a clear progression of spaces for departing and arriving travellers. The building's legible, modular design creates a repeating sequence of waves formed by vast wings of prefabricated steel. Supported on central 'trees', the great roof is punctuated by roof lights providing carefully controlled natural light throughout the upper level of the terminal.

Light-filled 'canyons' divide the parallel floors that accommodate the various stages of passenger processing - from point of arrival, through check-in and passport and security controls to departure lounges and, finally, to the aircraft.

A simple palette of materials and straightforward detailing reinforce the direct character of the architecture. Internally, the roof is clad in bamboo strips, giving it a smooth and seamless appearance. In contrast, the structural 'trees' are painted to create a kilometre-long vista of graduated colour. The lower levels of the building house baggage handling, storage and plant areas, and offer a striking contrast with the lightweight transparency of the passenger areas above.

Description by architects


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