Arup Consultants, Woods Bagot

Flying high

Woods Bagot to create the architecture interior design of Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan

AZERBAIJAN: Woods Bagot has been commissioned to work on the interiors of the International Airport terminal building BHYT in Baku, Azerbaijan in partnership with Arup Consultants, which is in charge of the concept design.

Heydar Aliyev International Airport is the regions’ only airport 30km northeast of Baku.

The 60,000m² terminal will elevate the airport to world class standard in the Caucasus region increasing the capacity from one to three million passengers a year. Re-design work is underway to allow the docking of the Airbus 380 and is expected to be completed next year.

“The interior design was developed in coordination with Arup Consultants’ initial concept. Selection of colours, finishes, sanitary ware, furniture and joinery designs all work together to integrate the interiors with the architectural concept,” said Monica Palmer, senior associate architect, Woods Bagot who is working on the project with Angus Barron, also senior architect, interior architect at the firm.

“The main interior materials are greyish granite floor tiles, white acoustic metal ceiling tiles with plaster board margins, back-painted glass wall cladding, and stainless steel column cladding. The main roof, which spans the whole building, will be free from any services displaying skylights and the metal roof structure, arranged in a triangular pattern, with white stretch ceiling infill hiding acoustical insulation boards.”

Freestanding ‘pods’ will contain toilets, retail outlets and check-in desks. The designs of the pods have the same architectural design elements as the airport such as back-painted architectural glass panels, stainless steel skirting and trolley rail detail, allowing the roof to be the focal design feature.

The joinery was based on furniture designed by Gate Technology, but was modified in size, finish and equipment storage space to suit operational and MEP requirements.

All check-in desks, information desks and passport control booths continue the theme of back-painted white glass at desk fronts with stainless steel countertops and built-in stainless steel bumpers.

The departure gate seating at all gate areas is Eames Tandem products by Vitra. The tandem seats were also added to the Baggage Reclaim hall for passengers. Various configurations are specified to suit spatial requirements. Most modular configurations consist of two or three seats with an attached table top.

A special ‘quiet zone’ has been created as a space where people can wait to board, the area is provided with rows of chaise lounges, groups of sofas and arm chairs grouped around coffee tables.

The bathrooms will be fitted with Vitra sanitary ware collection and Bobrick bathroom accessories, using wall-mounted WC’s with an electronic control flush system and electric sensors.

“The client, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL), preferred the design-build procurement route for the terminal to accelerate the completion of the airport, after winning the Eurovision song contest in 2011 and the government wants to attract more tourists into Azerbaijan which gained independence in the early 90s,” said Palmer.

“The new addition to the airport is close to the existing terminal, which was built at the end of the 90s, and is currently receiving a facelift to the exterior façade. This includes the replacement of the existing red coloured metal panels with a glazed, fritted skin.

“The design of the terminal has a flowing, curved metal roof which matches the slanted façade acting as a veil above the interior spaces of the terminal.

“The overall shape of the building is reminiscent of a triangle with curved, fluid sides.”

The building has a ground floor and three levels, with check in, baggage reclaim and lounges. An arrival concourse with passport control and transfer area is on the first level. Departure lounges, retail and F&B are on the second level and business lounges on the third floor. Woods Bagot already developed the concept design into schematic and final design. Tender documentation is now under way.