Blog / Architectural Designs / Zayed International Airport; Mirroring Desert Dunes

Zayed International Airport; Mirroring Desert Dunes

The Abu Dhabi International Airport has been officially renamed Zayed International Airport, Terminal A. Designed and executed by KPF, the revamped complex will accommodate up to 45 million passengers annually, doubling the airport’s capacity. Informed by the desert's natural landscape and Islamic culture's geometric motifs, the terminal was designed considering the Emirate’s surrounding context.







The form uses an X-shape design for efficiency and passenger flow. Sitting above road level, the terminal 50m tall façade and its departure hall endow the building with an open, outdoor quality. To provide passengers with daylight while protecting them from overheating, the undulated form of the roof drapes over the façade protecting it from direct sunlight.








To aid wayfinding, each pier of the X form was inspired by a different element of Abu Dhabi’s character: desert, sea, city, and oasis. Additionally, The terminal features two orientation devices or large-scale “landmarks.” The first is “Sana Al Nour,” inspired by Islamic Architecture. Designed to direct light and air into the Arrivals Hall, the installation is 22m tall and is made up of curved leaves of translucent glass. Secondly, a feature staircase placed in the arrival hall sequence links the central space with the arrival corridor.








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