Large queues at the check-in counter, passengers struggling with their luggage, staff traveling with their stressed out faces, families excited for their journey to a new place, vast open spaces with gigantic structural members, big sheets of glass and concrete, large display panels welcoming the visitors are some among many things that comes to our mind instantly as we think of an airport. How much we think, we will not picture it with trees springing-in here and there, like a ‘garden airport’.
In this era, we have seen architecture move towards nature. Architects are trying to do more and more to blend nature into their designs. This time it is Foster and Partners’ competition entry, that has laid efforts to bring green inside the Taiwan Taoyuan international airport and create an ‘in- between’ space, striking a deal in the middle of the natural and artificial.
The idea was to develop the design in the lines of true Taiwan that reflects the diversity of flora and fauna in their country. Plants have been placed strategically along the central spine so as to suggest directions to the passengers towards the check-in counters, immigration, security etc. The same has been incorporated in the departure and arrival area. This may invite quite surprising reactions from those who will experience the garden airport for the very first time.
This introduction of nature may also help in dealing with the stress, anxiety and rush that many passengers face at airports. Plant species from different corners of Taiwan have been chosen so as to represent the whole country at once. This may also educate the visitors of the land’s rich diversity.The sweeping profile of the roof is inspired from the mountains of Zhongyang, which forms the backdrop and are clearly visible from the airport.
The design stood third in the competition after Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and UNstudio. Although it wasn’t the winning idea, we hope it will influence the designs of airports yet to come. May be for the near future, we picture indigenous gardens as well along with the previous list or may be will have a completely new list!
By : Kushal Jain