Panama City, Panama
American Prize for Design laureate Norman Foster of Foster + Partners together with Mallol Arquitectos have completed the expansion of the Tocumen International Airport in Panama using innovative construction technology that reflects the country’s socio-economic growth.
The new Tocumen International Airport in Panama is set to increase capacity from 5.8 to 15 million passengers a year by 2022, establishing an important new hub for the Americas.
The new terminal is designed to reflect the Panamanian landscape, evoking a unique sense of place to welcome visitors to the country and removing the anonymity of the international hub experience for transit passengers.
Two symmetrical wings of piers extend to the east and west of the central concourse, and the entire building is unified beneath an aerodynamic bronze-colored roof.
A warm interior materials palette and exposed beams compliment the metallic tones of the roof, and glazed facades open the airport up to the airfield and landscape beyond.
As the focus of a hub is on transfer passengers, the terminal’s planning minimizes connection times, with strong visual connections across the airport to allow intuitive way-finding.
Viewed in plan, the curve of the building’s facade has been carefully balanced to minimize walking distances, while extending to accommodate a large number of aircraft stands.
Engineering and architecture have been conceived together, resulting in a comprehensive environmental strategy that balances complementary active and passive measures.
Openings in the roof have been strategically located to allow daylight to penetrate the furthest reaches of the building.
A careful selection of solar control glazing coupled with a deep overhang provides excellent daylight and views to the outside while reducing solar gain, thus minimizing the need for mechanical cooling.
The smart HVAC design responds to occupancy patterns, cooling the lower occupied zones of the concourse whilst maximizing comfort and wellbeing for the passengers.
Located in a seismic region, the terminal was designed following the state-of-the-art performance-based seismic structural design methodology.
The structure features an innovative ‘fuse’ detail at the top of the reinforced concrete columns in order to protect the architecturally exposed steel roof from the large forces that occur during an earthquake.
Fast-track project delivery allowed the installation of piles and construction of the foundations to start only five months after project kick-off.
Project: Tocumen International Airport
Architects: Foster + Partners
Design Team: Adrian Parkinson, Andrea Soligon, Antoinette Nassopoulos-Erickson, Piers Heath, Roger Ridsdill Smith, Angelika Kovacic, Carlos Solé Bravo, Carolyn Gembles, Juan Vieira-Pardo, Krzysztof Gornicki, Sofía Arraiza Ruiz de Galarreta, and Xiaonian Duan
Architects of Record: Mallol Arquitectos
Structural Engineers: Foster + Partners, Simpson Gumpertz Heger, and O.M.Ramirez y Asociados
Consultants: BNP and Ross & Baruzzini
Client: Odebrecht for Tocumen International Airport
Photographers: Foster + Partners