The Abu Dhabi 2030 plan for transforming the desert land into the ‘Garden of the Gulf’ will use a design that will respond to its natural environment and address the demands and needs of a capital city that is developing and expanding fast. The Abu Dhabi international Airport Midfield Complex forms an important part of the project. The X-shaped terminal minimises walking distances and maximises aircraft parking facilities along with providing 49 gates. Its programmes are so well throughout that it becomes easy to efficiently handle the around 50 million travellers using it every year.
The Terminal building, identified on the skyline, is raised up from the road level giving the appearance of sitting on its own plateau – with a profile silhouetted against the sky. It was conceived as a gateway to the city. In order to protect the building and its users from the heat of the sun, it has been designed in an undulated manner. It is, in part, created by the roof of the piers along the X ‘pulled down’ on the façade. So, when lit at night, the interior of the building turns transparent and can be viewed from the highway which is over 1500 metres away. The roadway system and the landscaping work culminate in a monumental civic space inside the terminal building. In the centre, i.e. at the heart of complex, are the retail and food outlets, gallery space and a secluded garden among many other public spaces. The Departure hall is 50 metres high and more or less column-free. It uses leaning arches for support instead which give the building an open outdoor quality. The arches are separated from the roof to enhance the lightweight feel. Since the Abu Dhabi administration is keen on environment friendly projects, the building too includes many such measures. Reducing the use of potable water by using dry climate landscaping and well planned use of natural daylight supplemented with low energy lighting are some such measures.