The design of Kuwait International Airport is rooted in a sense of place, responsive to the climate of one of the hottest inhabited environments on earth and inspired by local forms and materials. Foster + Partners has designed a flexible masterplan for the site, with the terminal strategically located to anticipate and enable future expansion. The airport will initially accommodate 13 million passengers per year, with the flexibility to increase to 25 million passengers and to accommodate 50 million passengers with further development.
The terminal, with an area of 708000m2, has a trefoil plan, comprising three symmetrical wings of departure gates. Each façade spans 1.2 kilometers and all extend from a dramatic 25-metre-high central space. The terminal balances the enclosure of this vast area with a design that is highly legible at a human scale - for simplicity and ease of use there are few level changes. To further aid orientation, the building is planned under a single roof canopy, punctuated by glazed openings that filter daylight, while deflecting direct solar radiation.
Targeting LEED 'gold', it aims to be the first passenger terminal in the world to attain this level of environmental accreditation and combines the thermal properties of the concrete structure with a large expanse of roof-mounted photovoltaic panels to harvest solar energy. Foster + Partners have unveiled the designs in 2011. The airport is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by 2023.