New terminal at Kolkata airport – An engineering marvel

New terminal at Kolkata airport – An engineering marvel

January 27, 2014

The new integrated terminal building at Kolkata airport has been adjudged an engineering marvel, bagging the second highest jury award at the prestigious competition organised by Engineering Watch, a professional publication dedicated to the engineering community. The airport has also been declared as the second-most impactful engineering marvel.

A view of the new terminal

Amalgamation of past and present

The 1,80,000-sq metre terminal that can handle 20 million passengers a year was developed by the Airports Authority of India at a cost of Rs 2,300 crore. Designed by international architect firm RMJM, which has studios in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US, the sprawling terminal integrates cutting-edge technology with unique cultural qualities.

North-facing roof lights and a central courtyard flood the interior with natural light. The large front window, shaded by the overhanging roof, is also a ventilated double wall that removes heat generated from sunlight. The roof is designed to harvest rainwater.

The airport lit up at night

RMJM worked closely with landscape designers Strata to ensure a close relationship between the building and its landscape. Both landscape and architecture designs revolve around an abstract reference to the writing of Rabindranath Tagore, with symbolised scripts adorning the airport and the internal courtyards. Sikka Associates was the executive architect in this project.

No mean architectural feat

The project that beat the airport to bag the best engineering marvel prize was Vedanta Aluminium Ltd's conversion of an electro-static precipitator (ESP) to hybrid ESP.

More than 11,000 tonne of structural steel and 2 lakh tonne of concrete were used to build the terminal. Constructing and erecting the massive trusses on which the entire roof rests was a huge engineering challenge.

A spectacular view of the new terminal

In the most impactful engineering marvel category, Kolkata airport was pipped by none other than the humble Indian chapati. A machine by CSIR-CFTRI that can continuously dish out fresh chapatis won the jurors' hearts.

"The airport terminal has been widely appreciated for the aesthetic, environmental and user-friendly technology. We are proud to have created a building," said airport director BP Sharma.

An aerial view of the new terminal

Parting Thought

Kolkata is changing, keeping with the times. A blend of past heritage and modern technological marvels, the new terminal at Kolkata airport is truly a representation of how the city is witnessing a series of changes, for the better. Surely, great days lie ahead for the city and its people.

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Comments (1)
Partha Paul Reply
January 27, 2014
If only this aesthetic appeal could be carried over to the builders and developers of Kolkata - then we would get a beautiful city.
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