Barajas Airport, Madrid
Richard Rogers, 2004

10-06-2004
Inaugurated in December 2003, a year before it is due to start operations, the new terminal in Madrid's Barajas Airport is a spectacular work by architect Richard Rogers and Estudio Lamela, another new landmark for the Madrid area.

The system is based on a series of ventilation mechanisms installed inside the pillars and employs built-in air conditioning in all high passenger density areas.
These are choices closely linked with Richard Rogers' twenty years of work on the study and design of intelligent buildings capable of cutting operating costs throughout their life cycle and solving the problems of sustainability and humans' relationship with the land. The project also aims to make optimal use of natural light, while shades on the facades reduce reflection and the resulting overheating.

Rogers prefers to use zonal lighting rather than diffuse light, because it saves on energy and helps passengers moving from one area to another to find their way around. Another ecologically sustainable system collects rainwater for watering the gardens. The roof on the parking lot is covered with a low-maintenance lawn.

In coming up with the design for this complex 16 km to the east of the Spanish capital, Rogers imagined the space already full of people moving about, and adapted his plans to suit their needs and directions of movement.
This reveals one of the most important characteristics of Rogers' way of doing architecture: a focus on human beings and the context in which they live and move.

Laura Della Badia

Interview with Richard Rogers