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3DReid and bblur unwrap Gibraltar Airport terminal

3DReid and bblur architecture have completed a 19,600m² terminal for Gibraltar Airport

Located near the famous Rock, the two-storey structure features a large over-sailing roof and an airside roof terrace accessible from the departure lounge.

The project, which was first revealed in the AJ in June 2007, also includes a landscaped park.

The architect’s view

We approached this commission with consideration and empathy, and created an important public space both around and inside the terminal.

A large over-sailing roof, providing shade and shelter to the fully glazed walls which maximise views to the Rock and across the straits toward Africa and the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, reflects the terminal’s aviation function and maritime location.

The forecourt creates a new landscaped park providing a generous welcome to Gibraltar and the airport and an identifiable ‘place’ at the frontier, a place to meet and greet whether on a local or extended journey.

A large over-sailing roof reflects the terminal’s aviation function and maritime location

There are double height spaces within the terminal and an extensive airside roof terrace, designed as an extension to the departures lounge. The terminal, which operates over two levels, has a primary check-in and arrivals concourse at ground floor on the west side of the terminal. The terminal was also designed to accommodate entry and exit of passengers directly at the frontier.

The fifth elevation, namely the roof, is very important as seen from the rock. We have used rooflights to visually guide passengers through some of the more internal routes. They generate subtle animation of the space thoughout the day from throwing disks of diffused sunlight onto the floor to capturing the blue glow in the early evening.

Energy efficiency has been a key consideration - the large roof overhang provides solar shading which maintains a cool environment. High performance double glazing and automated roller blinds  contribute to enhanced energy performance.

Certain features of the design result from the building’s proximity to the sea. In addition to the need for close attention to detailing and specifications for external elements because of the corrosive marine environment, there was also concern about maintaining the appearance of the glazing, not just from salt-saturated air but also wind-borne sand and dust particles. The design solution includes a special external cleansing system that intermittently rinses the façades to eliminate accumulated material. The de-ionised water used in the system further improves the effectiveness of the rinsing process.

Buro Happold’s Fire Engineering developed a holistic fire safety design that integrates a combination of passive and active fire safety measures, along with management measures to combine to give a simple but robust fire strategy for the building. This provides  several benefits: offering life safety protection to the large numbers of passengers and staff using the terminal, containing fire and smoke to limited areas, and reducing operational disruption in the event of an incident.

Project team:

Client: Government of Gibraltar
Architect: 3DReid and bblur Architecture
Engineers: Buro Happold
Main contractor: Dragados S.A.
Aviation Consultants:NACO B.V.
Landscape Consultants: Spacehub
Project Management: Gibraltar Land Reclamation Company

3DReid's and bblur architecture's new terminal for Gibraltar Airport. Image by Hufton and Crow

Source: Image by Hufton and Crow

3DReid’s and bblur architecture’s new terminal for Gibraltar Airport.

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