The architects of UNSTUDIO brought the Kutaisi airport in Georgia to life with just two years of work. A design that was simple, to say the least, but which promised to be complex in its implementation, with the steel structure having been prefabricated in Hungary before being transported and assembled on site.
The shell of the building has a simple shape and when viewed from above, it is slightly faceted. It mainly consists of vertical glass walls, whilst the edges of the volume are covered with aluminium, whose colours - white and red - are those of the national flag. These are merged into a fluid composition, also made of aluminium, which breaks up the flat glass wall of the façade in a dramatic fashion.
The internal layout is even more surprising, thanks to the wooden umbrella which acts as an impluvium and regulates the flow of passengers going both in and out. An interesting expedient, as in that area of the airport, passengers will be able to admire an ever-changing display of works of art by Georgian artists, making the location into a new local cultural identifier.
It is interesting to note that the umbrella, as the impluvium is referred to, has a wooden internal structure covered with panels of simple composite elements, in stark contrast to the rest of the structure. This entire feature was designed just to give the heart of the airport a welcoming feel, whilst its multifaceted and polymorphous shapes lend it the touch of modernity needed to help it integrate with the rest of the composition.
Last but not least, the control tower. This was designed to take advantage of air currents in order to use them as ventilation for the cockpit of the flight operators, which stands at a height of 55 metres. Whilst the LED illumination makes it an effective reference light for takeoff and landing manoeuvres.
Client: master plan and terminal: United Airports of Georgia LLC
Client: Air Traffic Control Tower,
offices and meteorological building: Sakaeronavigatsia Ltd
Location: Kutaisi, Georgia
Building surface: terminal 4,500m2, Control Tower and offices 1,800m2 Height Air Traffic Control Tower: 55m. Building site: 12,000 m2
Programme: International Airport Terminal, Air Traffic Control Tower and Offices for Navigation Timing: Concept Design 2011, design development and construction 2012-2013
UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Gerard Loozekoot with Frans van Vuure and Filippo Lodi, Roman Kristesiashvili, Tina Kortmann, Wendy van der Knijff, Kristoph Nowak, Machiel Wafelbakker, Gustav Fagerström, Thomas Harms, Deepak Jawahar, Nils Saprovskis, Patrik Noome
Structural consultant: MTM kft. Budapest
MEP consultant: SMG-SISU kft. Budapest
Landscape: OR else
Structural expertise; Arup, Milan
Airport planning; Arup Aviation, London Sustainability; Arup, Amsterdam
Light: Primo Exposures Terminal advisor on interior & art; Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse
Local architect: Studio ARCI, Tbilisi
Acoustics: SCENA akoestisch adviseurs
Wind-testing: Peutz Cost and management; Davis Langdon, London Visualisation; Moka Studio
Foto: © Nakanimamasakhlisi