Park in the Turbulence Zone

  • contemporary architecture

The contest project of "Yuzhny" Airport by Totement/Paper: the architects made an accent on organizing the passenger flows inside the airport, laying along the park that was specified in the requirements, a network of covered pedestrian galleries.


One of the participants of the international competition for the best project of "Yuzhny" Airport in the city of Rostov-on-Don was the bureau Totement/Paper that developed their project with the input from their colleagues from ZaBor bureau.

"Our primary objective was to help the passengers to find their way around the airport as easily as possible - Levon Airapetov shares - This is why what we tried to do was connect all the points of entrance (on foot, by train or by car), arrival, and departure into some sort of a single "smart" rational system, a machine that surrounds the park situated in its center, this park being the "visiting card" of this territory.

The way of the passengers, both arriving and departing, goes along the transparent galleries straddling the park. Into the park territory, the galleries shoot the glazed volumes of public premises: cafes, shops, and lounges. Thus, the passengers, while being inside the technogenic landscape, are at the same time always in contact with the nature. On the outside of the galleries, we placed the volumes of the office buildings and the hotels, deliberately making them "conspicuous", towering over the landscape. We built the volume of the airport around the dichotomy of two contrastive elements: air and earth. The streamlined curvilinear shape of the galleries reminds one of the streams of turbulent air - people come here to fly away, and the symbolic "air streams" pick them up and carry them towards their destinations. The more balanced and reserved volume of the terminal and the last point before the take-off symbolizes the earth".

Pedestrian and traffic flow chart. /PAPER 

Master plan. /PAPER

Top view. /PAPER

The plan of the various motion flows became indeed the main theme of the project. The architects were so much carried away by the idea of organizing the passenger flows that they turned it into a dramatic pattern that looks reminiscent of the mask of the pagan "air god" or ornaments of the symbolist artists of the early century. Upon a closer examination, one can see on the master plan the nose, the eyes, the forehead, and even some semblance of a crown (its teeth being the planes receiving their passengers). What is interesting is the fact that the intricate pattern not only matches the bulging bands of the glass galleries but also the open-air trails of the park. On the plan, the volumes of the cafes and shops that intrude the park territory resemble the imaginary deity's war paint, while the whirls of the trails on the sides look like the creature's hair.

Master plan. Drawing by Levon Airapetov. /PAPER 

Sketch of the airport plan. A drawing by Levon Airapetov. /PAPER

Such a transition from the rational planning of the flows to the breathtaking graphics of the plan might even look offensive from a classical modernist standpoint, but then again, it perfectly matches the idea that the architects proposed - one of symbolization of earth/air: the intricate pattern that shows on the plan endows the project with extra meaning and hidden aesthetics, "half-legally" entwined into the pragmatic plan of organizing the passenger flows.

The pattern of the plan is only visible from above, though. From the inside, the passengers would have gotten a network of glass galleries and pavilions installed into the natural habitat of the park, open to the green surroundings and flanked by trees on all sides (the architects placed the green plants wherever possible). The complex "turbulent" pattern of the galleries and their offshoots allowed for the maximum mutual penetration of the technogenic structure of the airport and the park environment, tying the two elements in a single whole.

Top view, from the side of the terminal /PAPER

Inside view of the gallery /PAPER

Park. /PAPER

Park by night in the wintertime. /PAPER

Park by night in the wintertime. /PAPER

Entrance from the gallery into the terminal. /PAPER

Interior of the eterminal. /PAPER

Interior of th eterminal. /PAPER

Exterior of the terminal buildings /PAPER
Text by: Levon Ayrapetov, Valeria Preobrazhenskaya, Julia Tarabarina
Translated by Anton Mizonov

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