The wings of a bird in flight inspire and shape this very mammoth terminal building– Chennai Airport, whose sheer scale and size awe the onlooker. The two wings evolve as structural portal sand culminates into a system of roof, shading Asia’s one of the greenest airports. With a total site area of 100 acres, the terminal buildings, with elegant 300 m twin wing-like hovering roofs on both sides provide complete shade to the south-facing elevation and protect the departing passengers from heat gains.
A steady combination of active and passive strategies is incorporated in terminal design and planning. On comparison to the GRIHA Energy Performance Index (EPI) of 450for a similar building, the total EPI of the terminal building is 156.30. Therefore, it clearly exemplified that “Even Big can be sustainable”.
“Shaping Asia’s Greenest Airport”
The efficiency of the terminal can be attributed to its meticulously planned spaces. The H-shaped plan is what forms the very genesis of this sustainable terminal. A design stroke, scooping out the redundant belly of the terminal, formulated an H-shaped plan. Creating seven visible facets, transparent ingress was creating to the terminal as compared to the conventional four façade system in an ordinary terminal. This planning strategy clearly exemplified that “Even Big can be sustainable”.
Think Green: Bringing lush green landscape to upper levels
Beautifully tied up with vertical landscaping, the terminal airport seamlessly blurs boundaries between inside and outside. Arriving through the majestic glass tube, instantly releases the travel fatigue as one is visually treated to the lush vertical gardens. With a layer of glazing all around and surrounding greens, the passengers are offered views to the green. The building is designed around two green courtyards termed as the central green spine. The two wings are connected by an elliptical glass tube which is positioned amidst the vertical greens giving the visitor experience of walking among the greens. The landscape is dotted with vertical gardens and lush planting strips with interspersed reflection pools and local palm groves. Vertical gardens consist of stainless steel structure lattices providing support for hanging plants including colorful vegetation such as orchids.
The domestic and international terminals are not just engineering marvels but synergized an organic form which is a beautiful combination of architecture and engineering.
The virginity of the structural envelope at the Chennai airport beholds the otherwise hastening traveler into the airport. For both the Domestic and International Terminals, the structure essentially generates the design of the buildings. Repeating large, arching trusses offer great expanses of column-free public spaces on both the landside and airside. The triangulated truss-like structural members result in maximum efficiency from engineering, fabrication and construction considerations. By continuing the trusses at the garden facades, the large forces generated at the base of these elements are transferred directly into the foundations.
The great cantilevered curve of the front (landslide) roof structure is supported on large, paired “V” positioned full height columns. The forward slope of the columns stiffens the trusses to resist transverse wind and seismic forces. In the longitudinal direction, the paired “V” configuration of the columns works integrally with a longitudinal compression truss to create a repetitive series of stable triangulated elements that resist both longitudinal wind and seismic forces.
The space defined by the arching and curving roof has been designed so that public spaces remain column-free at all terminal levels. The building’s steel structure rises with a curved roof to form a light and open, column-free terminal with expansive glass curtain walls that create a feeling of spaciousness. Skylights follow the geometry of the trusses, further opening the structural framework to allow natural light to permeate the terminal.
Adorned in plenty of architectural elements, it is these distinct elements that give the Chennai Airport its grandeur.
Thinnest Flyover: Taking forward the V-column, to support the thinnest flyover (spanning 1.2Km), creates directly visibility from the city side. Not compromising on the visual impact of the terminal on the passengers, the flyover lets the glass terminal charm travels in style. The Thin flyover has a box frame that spans 14 meters resting on T beams, which are not only 400 mm thick but are also hollow from inside. The structural marvel not only saves more than 25% concrete but has also successfully implemented new technology of steam curing in India.
Elliptical Bridge: The Elliptical Bridge or the arrival tube connects the landside with the airside operations through the Central courtyard. The elliptical glass tube makes up for a futuristic impression, amidst the beautifully landscaped garden and thus strengthening the alliance between man and nature.
The Connecting Tube: An 800M long glass tube connects all the existing and the proposed terminals. 24 no. travellators of 1000mm width are provided for movement of passengers from one terminal to another.
Sustainability and Energy Savings
“Setting a benchmark in sustainability”
A steady combination of active and passive strategies is incorporated in terminal design and planning. Passive features such as roof insulation, fly ash in concrete, high thermal mass and use of AAC blocks minimize the heat gains in the buildings. At the same time, the use of double insulated glass maximizes daylight into the terminal. Active strategies in the form of water conservation, energy-efficient equipment, and lighting fixtures play a vital role in the energy conservation of the terminal.
An important aspect, the conservation of water has helped pushed the envelope of sustainability in a huge manner. Recycling of water by the use of STP/ETP has garnered energy savings of 50%. Coupled with the latest techniques for stormwater retention and groundwater recharge, it delivers a significant water savings of 73%.
In comparison to the GRIHA Energy Performance Index (EPI) of 450 for a similar building, the total terminal building EPI is 156.30.
It is that every small initiative taken towards energy efficiency mounts to create Asia’s Greenest Airport Ever
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