New Airport by Norman Foster


Crowded and ever less competitive, Mexico City Internatonal Airport (AICM) is in dire need of an enlargement: 470,000 square meters on a tract of land adjoining the current facilities, to be built at a cost of approximately US$10,000. The sheer magnitude of the operation to a large extent explains why the winner of the competition is Norman Foster, known to be the top specialist in this typology. In this case he is working with Fernando Romero, a disciple of Koolhaas and a son-in-law of the Mexican magnate Carlos Slim. Carrying the day over the designs presented by Zaha Hadid or Rogers Stirk Harbour, corporate forms like SOM, Gensler, or Pascall + Watson, and local studios like Teodoro González de León’s, Foster’s proposal gives a twist to the grand innovations that the British architect has been introducing into these infrastructures for more than three decades now. As at Stansted in London, the installations will be buried underground. In this manner, the interior space of the building will be flooded with natural light, as in Hong Kong and Beijing, passenger routes will be substantially shortened, and changes of floor level within those routes will be limited to a minimum. Another major difference from those airports is that the new Mexican terminal – whose floor plan rather predictably evokes the spread wings of an eagle – does away with pillars, instead covering itself with a continuous vault of steel that recalls the Climatroffice project, a structural vision of Foster and Buckminster Fuller that has waited forty years to be finally materialized in the form of an airport.

Included Tags: