SAE 2023 – KPF: Abu Dhabi Terminal A Design

Photo Credit: Jamie Clarke / AviationSource

During this weeks SAE 2023, Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Principal talked about Abu Dhabi’s new international Terminal A design.

This article will cover the details surrounding KPF’s design language that fed in Abu Dhabi’s new international Terminal A building.

SAE 2023 – Abu Dhabi Terminal A


Photo Credit: Jamie Clarke / AviationSource

During the Saudi Airports Exhibition 2023 in Riyadh this week, Kohn Pedersen Fox’s (KPF) Principal, Mustafa Chehabeddine, talked about the design language that fed into what the new terminal is today since its opening earlier this year.

Abu Dhabi International Airport’s (AUH) new international Terminal A opened on November 1, 2023, and since has over 25 airlines operating out of the new terminal.

As part of the design Chehabeddine talked about that when the design for the new terminal began back in the early 2000s that they had to consider walking times for passengers, given that the terminal is three kilometres in length, or 742,000 square meters.

When designing the terminal they had four main designs and as per the above infographic, you can see that the ‘X’ shape of the terminal, as to how it is built now, was the best in terms of walking times between stages of the airport for passengers.

The main entrance hall of the terminal features the largest structural arc in a building, with the remaining structural arcs getting smaller as the terminal tapers inwards.

In the main hall there are 18 chandeliers that light upwards where the light bounces back down from the ceiling giving the roof an almost ‘sky’ feel.

As you head down each pier to the aircraft gates, those are also lit up by 350 crescent shaped chandeliers, that light the piers in the same fashion by bouncing the light up to the roof and back down.

Also, it is important to note that when KPF first designed the terminal they had to make sure it could be easily changed around, knowing that the design elements, materials and over look and feel of the building may need to change around over each coming decade.

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