The Kutaisi International Airport, destined to become a central hub, with up to one million travellers targeted in 2014-2015, was recently completed. UNStudio’s design is focused on sustainability, transparency and enviromental quality for travellers and workers.
UNStudio‘s project, designed and constructed in two years, comprises the full airport development, including the terminal building, offices, a meteorological station and the air traffic control tower.
“The design for the new terminal in Kutaisi focuses first and foremost on the experience of the traveler by creating an inviting, safe, transparent and user-friendly airport. The desire to provide for and communicate equally with both international visitors and the local community is paramount” explains Ben van Berkel, principal of UNStudio.
It is a gateway, in which a clear structural layout creates an all-encompassing and protective volume. Both the exterior corner detail – which functions as a crossing-point and point of recognition – and the so called ‘umbrella’ structure within the terminal building – which operates as a roundabout for passenger flows – operate as the two main architectural details around which all of the airport functions are organised; the terminal will in addition operate as a café and art gallery.
The 55m high Air Traffic Control Tower and its supporting office/operational building is designed to complement the design of the terminal. The exterior of the tower is clad with a perforated skin on a concrete core to use wind for ventilation purposes. LED Light in-between the skin and the core enhance the beacon effect of the tower at dusk and dawn by changing colour whenever there is a fluctuation in wind speed.
The design for the new airport incorporates numerous eco-sustainable elements. A large onsite underground source of natural water provides the basis for the reduction of energy consumption through concrete core activation and use for sprinkler basins. The floors of both the terminal and the traffic control tower will utilise this water for maintaining a regulated temperature in the two volumes. In the terminal building cantilevered roofs provide sun shading on south and southwest zones. A hybrid low pressure ventilation system is integrated into the terminal’s main structure and there is a grey water collection system in the floor underneath the terminal building. A future aim is to present Kutaisi airport as Georgia’s first airport to incorporate a strict segregation of waste and establish a recycling system which could be further implemented into new and existing projects in Georgia.
Text by Gabriele Masi.