Airbaltic New Terminal Airport

Latvia, 2010, participation in architectural competition for the conceptual design

This architectural design proposal is for the New Airbaltic Terminal at Riga International Airport, Latvia. Airbaltic passenger numbers are forecast to be more than 7.2 mppa by 2015, with the peak hour runway capacity approximately 40 air traffic movements. It also includes a car park and general site layout.
Our concept addresses design and circulation issues and takes into account the Landside and Airside functional requirements. We respect the fact that Airbaltic accommodates high transfer demands, flexible stand configuration and safeguards expansion zones.
The New Terminal Building combines the arising and innovating temper of Airbaltic with the identity and the rich culture of Riga.


The dominant idea

The new AirBaltic Terminal at Riga is not intended to be just another building in the Riga International Airport complex. Actually it is not intended to look like a building at all. We consider it as a place, an open environment in the landscape, where people from all over the world come and go. We intend it to be a symbol of the meaning and poetry of the journey. A window to the world or rather a recognizable and unique getaway (a gateway out to the world both for inwards and outwards directions.

The concept

A flock of giant wagtails comes and goes - lands or takes off somewhere in Riga, Latvia. A snapshot of this travel freezes, as if time stopped, and leaves its trace on the spot, visible from everywhere - high from the air or low as one approaches the site - even from a great distance. The structure is the simplest and more abstractive power.
The space, which anyway is limited and specified by the program, is wrapped inside a glass self - supported skin, invisible from a distance, and is organized in the simplest and more economic way. The wagtails however are - on the contrary - dynamic and dominant in the scene. Sixty three huge wagtails constructed from cast concrete create a sculpture, a happening, a symbolic environment, a photographic snapshot imprinted easily in the observer's mind. The new AirBaltic Terminal at Riga cannot be mistaken as some other. These are the wagtails of Latvia, not some other building or somewhat like another building. It is a unique spectacle and belongs to Riga and AirBaltic.

The design


The whole structure is organized in three levels: The first - the dominant - is the giant plastic forms of the wagtails. The second is the simplest possible construction of levels, which are unfolded under or among the wagtails and shape the plateaus where the terminal functions are organized. The third is the wrapping of the functional space, consisting of clear self - supported glass surfaces, without additional supporting members. The whole structure is made from only two materials - concrete and glass. The floors are also from concrete as well as the ceilings. All elements inside the terminal are independent structures based on a continuous floor, without incorporated neither with the wagtails nor with the glass skin.
We believe that, by this way, a simple and economic construction will be achieved, while on the other hand the principal idea and concept will be strongly highlighted.