The Barcelona 1992 Olympics Games required refurbishing and expanding the existing terminal to provide the city with a modern gateway for visitors and athletes.
Barcelona Airport was subjected to a major remodeling operation in order to prepare for the leap in capacity from six million passengers/year to twelve million, with a similar doubling of the capacity for aircraft on the ground.
This terminal building was built with a markedly rationalized construction system, consisting of a double facade and an architectonic concrete structure. The Ramblas, an interior longitudinal street one kilometer long connecting the terminals, overlooks the spectacle of the moving aircraft.
The international flight area is a glazed double-skin container with a roof spanning one hundred twenty meters supported on four columns, enclosing the central hall area, where the palm trees reminded the visitors of the Mediterranean climate. The whole complex is built on the watery soil of the Llobregat river delta.
The project included the installation of twelve telescopic gangways for direct boarding from terminal to plane. The scheme involved the configuration of the runway and in particular of the apron, which had to be extended.
The terminal building was designed with a linear layout, taking maximum advantage of the existing structure, with four modular triangular docking bays whose minimal projection onto the apron allowed this to be used to the fullest advantage. This linear solution, which was also determined by the position of the cargo terminal and the technical building, is reinforced by an element which emphasizes this linearity: and elevated pedestrian mall which groups together the modular elements, and serves as the divider between ground-side and air-side, and makes for easy separation of national and international flights.
International passengers use a building set slightly apart from the rest of the complex. One of the triangular modules has been specifically allocated to the shuttle service to and from Madrid.
A new air-side façade was constructed to give an entirely glazed aspect to the modules and the elevated mall. Passengers waiting for their flight enjoy a privileged view of the aircraft taking off and landing. The triangular modules also have another waiting lounge on the ground floor for those passengers who will be bussed to board one of the planes stationed at a distance from the Terminal. The elevated mall, the backbone of the airport, is the element of communication between all the different facilities.
The airport’s modular design allowed it to be remodeled in stages, since it was clearly impossible to close the airport for any length of time.
While the access time from street to plane has been reduced to a minimum, the elevated mall, inspired by Barcelona’s Ramblas, gives passengers waiting for their flight a place to stroll in and enjoy its various different settings.
Entrance to the terminal buildings is at ground floor level, directly connecting with the car parks and access roads under the looming canopies. Check-in and baggage collection are also located on the ground floor, with lifts and escalators for communication between floors.
The rapid evolution of air-travel technology will make it necessary for all the world’s airports to be remodeled in the near future; however, this should not detract from the importance of a detailed study of their architectural design, a crucial factor as far as the comfort of the passengers and the image of the city are concerned.