Keeping Up the Right Façade

Kolkata Airport

Delhi Airport

This last point also ties in with “wind loads” on the façade. Reactors of large aircrafts can generate tremendous draft, which can affect the façade of the terminal. Airports are often designed with “blast barriers” to divert these air jets away from the façade, but in cases where the façade will be subjected to heavy gusts from aircraft engines, designers should ensure that glass or cladding panels are secured and won’t be blown away.

While on the topic of blasts, airports are valuable infrastructure assets for a country, and as such are often the target of terrorists. In cases where local security forces envisage a potential threat, airport façades need to be designed with blast mitigation measures. This can range from simply extending the stand-off distance, thus reducing potential damage, to hardening measures preventing a blast from having a large impact on the structure and its users.

Designing and building the façade of an airport presents some key challenges. This brief overview provides a glimpse into some of the technical issues that designers are faced with, as well as some solutions that can be implemented to address those issues. However, the actual implementation of these measures requires a large amount of knowledge and experience in the particular requirements of airports.

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August 12, 2011

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