St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Aiport designed by Grimshaw Architects just opened to the public for the first time. The striking and sculptural terminal is topped with a large spanning roof that looks dramatically folded wooden origami. The large hall features skylights that pull daylight down into the arrivals terminal below. The Pulkovo Aiport is Phase 1 of a larger masterplan to improve transportation infrastructure in St. Petersburg and situate the city as a gateway to Russia.
Grimshaw Architects won an international competition in 2007 to design the Pulkovo Airport, which was recently opened up to passengers. While Grimshaw has retained control as concept guardians, the executive architects for the project were Pascal + Watson with Romboll acting as consultants. The new terminal will serve the transportation needs of 12 million passengers a year. When Phase 2 is complete by 2015, that figure will increase up to 17 million passengers annually.
The design of the Pulkovo Airport was inspired by the city of St. Petersburg. It features distinct connected zones that echo the layout of islands and bridges in the city. Gilded spires and large civic windows found throughout St Petersburg are interpreted into design elements inside the terminal. The dramatic folded ceiling and skylights create a large airy space, and natural light streams into the hall and the arrivals terminal below.
The envelope and roof were designed to handle a wide range of temperatures and climate conditions from large snow loads to searing heat. Facades and windows were optimized to take in light, minimize low-angle glare and avoid overheating in the summer. Certain facades feature transparent, solid or translucent window panels to control the sun. “This building represents a point of departure for Grimshaw. We are known for our expressive structures and attention to detail,” Grimshaw Project Partner Mark Middleton said. “We wanted to keep all of those elements – the practicality and the buildability, and our interest in sustainability – but also try to make this building more about form and space.”
Images ©Yuri Molodkovets