Foster + Partners borrowed additional motifs from traditional Islamic architecture to generate shapes used throughout the building. The underside of each dome is embossed to resemble the surface of a leaf, while the supporting grid of concrete columns feature split ends designed to look like plant stems. In the gaps between, droplet-shaped skylights allow light to filter through each space
Departure gates are divided into two wings and open out to courtyards filled with trees and plants, expected to improve the air quality
"Queen Alia International Airport has been an extraordinary project," commented Foster + Partners' chief executive Mouzhan Majidi. "It has transformed Amman into a niche hub, while offering critical growth for the wider economy through regional links". The new terminal building is energy efficient, will accommodate phased expansion and provides a dynamic symbol for Jordan
London firm Foster + Partners have worked on a number of airports and other transport projects over the years. The office famously designed Beijing's Capital Airport and was responsible for London's Stansted airport and Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong.
In response to Amman's climate, where summer temperatures vary markedly between day and night time, the building is constructed largely from concrete, the high thermal mass of the material providing passive environmental control. The tessellated roof canopy comprises a series of shallow concrete domes, which extend to shade the facades – each dome provided a modular unit for construction. The domes branch out from the supporting columns like the leaves of a desert palm and daylight floods the concourse through split beams at the column junctions. Echoing the veins of a leaf, a geometric pattern based on traditional Islamic forms is applied to each exposed soffit. The complex geometry of the roof shells and fabrication strategy was developed in conjunction with Foster + Partners in-house geometry specialists.
Two piers of departure gates run along either side of the central building, which contains the main processing areas and shops, lounges and restaurants. Between these volumes, open-air courtyards – a feature of vernacular architecture in the region – contribute to the terminal's environmental strategy: the plants and trees help to filter pollution and pre-condition the air before it is drawn into the air handling system and reflecting pools bounce indirect natural light into the airport
Above: level one plan - click for larger image
Above: level two plan - click for larger image
Above: level three plan - click for larger image
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