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Rogers' £448m Madrid airport takes shape

The Richard Rogers Partnership has reached the midway stage in the construction of its massive £448 million New Area Terminal at Barajas Airport in Madrid.The project is an attempt by the Spanish city to compete with Paris, Frankfurt and Heathrow in terms of becoming a major hub.And the prospect of the area's transformation is even enticing Real Madrid Football Club to talk about moving to be near it and away from its historic,70,000-seater Bernabeu home.

The airport extension scheme is designed with co-architect Estudio Lamela (which has prepared a model of the new Real Madrid stadium) to the east of Madrid and to the north of the existing terminal complex on a construction site which has become the largest in Europe.The new terminal will range over approximately 470,000m 2, while the Satellite building will be a further 315,000m 2, with car parking for up to 9,000 cars.

The new terminal will be able to cope with 35 million passengers per year, which compares to the 64 million each year that use Heathrow.

The main terminal building, more than 1km long, is a sequence of parallel blocks, separated by 'canyons'which allow daylight to penetrate deep into the building.The same form is applied to the satellite, comprising two linear blocks, one for processing, the other for the gates.

Curved roof structures oversail the linear floorplates and are connected above the canyons by a chain of rooflights. It has been designed to be easily extendable.Similarly, the parking is contained in four structures arranged within a linear block, with pedestrian circulation concentrated along the face opposite the terminal and thus giving animation to the facade. Its concrete roof is enhanced with planting, while the distinctive main roof encloses a train and metro station, thus covering all facilities from drop-off to gate.The whole scheme, engineered by Anthony Hunt Associates with Arup on facades and Sandy Brown Associates on acoustics, is set to complete in 2004.

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