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Mumbai’s peacock inspired airport terminal opens for business

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New York-based architectural practice, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOP), has designed the CSIA Terminal 2 project.

Completed in 2014, the new terminal will accommodate up to 40 million passengers annually and is located in the heart of India’s financial capital, Mumbai, India. 

The new hub has added 4.4 million square feet of space and will operate 24 hours day.

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By orchestrating the complex web of passengers and planes into a design that feels intuitive and responds to the region’s rocketing growth, the new Terminal 2 asserts the airport’s place as a preeminent gateway to India and underscores the country’s status as an international economic power.

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According to Mr. G V Sanjay Reddy, managing director of GVK Mumbai International Airport: “The new terminal is a monument to the beautiful spirit of Mumbai and its people.”

The new terminal combines international and domestic passenger services under one roof, optimising terminal operations and reducing passenger-walking distances.

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Inspired by the form of traditional Indian pavilions, the four-storey terminal stacks a grand “headhouse,” or central processing podium, on top of highly adaptable and modular concourses below. Rather than compartmentalizing terminal functions, three symmetrical concourses radiate outwards from a central processing core and are therefore easily reconfigured to ‘swing’ between serving domestic or international flights.

“We designed an airport that is intimately connected to its surroundings,” explains Roger Duffy, FAIA, design partner at SOM. “By subtly incorporating regional patterns and textures at all scales, Terminal 2 resonates with a sense of place and serves as a spectacular symbol for India and Mumbai.”

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All passengers enter the terminal headhouse on the fourth floor, accessed from a sweeping elevated road. At the entrance, the lanes split, making room for wide drop-off curbs with ample space for traditional Indian departure ceremonies.

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A 50-foot-tall glass cable-stayed wall – the longest in the world – opens to the soaring space of the check-in hall. The transparent façade also allows accompanying well wishers, who must remain outside of the terminal due to Indian aviation regulations, to watch as their friends and family depart.

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Once inside, travellers enter a warm, light-filled chamber, sheltered underneath a long-span roof supported by an array of multi-storey columns. The monumental spaces created beneath the thirty mushrooming columns call to mind the airy pavilions and interior courtyards of traditional regional architecture. Small disks of colourful glass recessed within the canopy’s coffers speckle the hall below with light. The constellation of colours makes reference to the peacock, the national bird of India, and the symbol of the airport.

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Although the terminal is four stories, interconnecting light slots and multi-storey light wells ensure that light penetrates into the lower floors of the building, acting as a constant reminder of the surrounding city and landscape. At dusk, illuminated from within, the terminal glows like a sculpted chandelier.

Images courtesy of SOM

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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March 15, 2014 | Property | View comments

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