28.11.2013

In the Sky With Lenses

  • contemporary architecture

"Asadov Architectural Bureau" has won the tender for the best project of "Central" Airport in Saratov.

Information:

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau


The new Saratov airport will be built in the vicinity of the village of Saburovka, 20 kilometers away from the city. It is planned that it will completely replace the existing Saratov-Central that is located within the city boundaries and is only capable of accepting small aircraft. In other words, today Saratov has only air connection with the nearest Russian cities - which eliminates the possibility to organize for the people of Saratov direct flights to major European cities and seaside resorts. The necessity of building a new "air gate" has been discussed for the last twenty years already but it was not until 2008 that the appropriate spot was finally pinpointed, until 2011 that the purchasing of the land sites was completed, and until 2013 that the construction of the runway began, as well as the tender for the architectural solution of the airport was launched. As for the competition, it was of a closed nature - the customer only invited into the second round a few bureaus that had in their portfolios large-scale town-planning public projects and airports. For "Asadov Architectural Bureau", that is quite familiar with the thematics of transport infrastructure in general, the dates of this work practically coincided with the development of the planning concept for yet another airport - "Yuzhny" in Rostov-on-Don. And, while the Moscow architects ultimately yielded the right to design the "air gate" of the south of Russia to a British company, Saratov was to be handled by the Russian company. 

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

"As the contest specifications, the bidders got a clear-cut functional plan of the airport - all we had to do was give it a memorable image, both outside and inside, so our main effort was directed specifically to finding the right architectural solution of the complex - Andrew Asadov shares - At the same time, as opposed to the Rostov-on-Don case, the contest specifications did not include either the square in front of the building or its connection with the car park, their development being scheduled for the next phase of the project". On the one hand, the architect found themselves in some sort of an isolated situation - they were to design a volume, conditionally "cut off" from the context but, on the other hand, this helped them come up with an image that was both self-sufficient and at the same time hospitably open to its immediate surroundings. 

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

In the new "Central" there is room for the hall of international flight with all the relevant services, and for the highly-developed hub of domestic flights - considering the realities of Saratov, though, the latter are going to get a rather compact implementation. On the plan, the future airport has almost a perfectly square shape that is only augmented, from the side of the airfield, by two fixed telescopic passageways. One can even say that the bidders were given "blackboxes" that they were to refine by giving them an appearance more dramatic than that of a giant "box" dumped in the middle of the airfield. 

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

"Getting down to work with this conditional "crate", the first thing we did was define which particular elements of the facade would be the prime influencers of our design concept - Andrew Asadov explains - Apart from the entrance area, these were, of course, the authorized-personnel-only and maintenance entrances, and the stained-glass windows of the areas where the passengers would spend most of their time". In order to prevent the side facades from getting the inevitable numerous "patches" of the doors and windows, the architects decided to unite all the openings into one shape. In fact. What they do is they cut in the side facade a large semi-arch that almost imperceptibly blends into the jet bridge. The space above it gets covered with pylons, while the walls gets a not-too-strong but visually noticeable slant. It is planned that the bases of the jet bridges will be slanted in about the same way thus giving the "profile" of the building an evident resemblance to the fuselage of an airplane. 

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

The main facades also undergo serious tectonic changes. According to the architects' plan, they are also considerably indented inside the building, from the airfield side the "face" of the airport being marked by the large awning, and from the opposite side the expressiveness of the "concave lens" being enhanced by the light marquee of the same shape. 

The design of the roof logically matches the style of the smooth curvilinear shapes. The architects give its central part a semblance to an hourglass that is "filled" with lamps of the same elliptic shape, the length of which decreases as they near the center of the building. These "sky lenses" single out do the structure of the the airport the zone of the main passenger flows and, naturally, help to let as much light into it as possible. 

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

The architects themselves admit that the pattern of the roof contains a few associations at once - these are the river waves rolling and the smooth outlines of the Volga bridge, and even the proverbial Saratov accordion. The main effect that the architects were trying to achieve, however, was that of a peculiar portal that looks as if it were sucking the passengers in. And, because a portal is a meaningful and massive element by definition, the inevitable monumentality was to be set off with the help of stained glass, elegant tension wires, and thin slanted ribs on the side facades. According to the judging panel, "Asadov Architectural Bureau" performed their task with excellence, offering to Saratov a building that is as memorable as practicable. 

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

























The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau

The concept of the passenger terminal of "Central" airport in Saratov Asadov Architectural Bureau
Text by: Anna Martovitskaya

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