The Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Qatar, conceptualised by global architecture studio HOK, was launched in April 2014. Recently, it was named the best airport in the world by AirHelp’s Global Airport Ranking. HIA is home to Qatar Airways, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, making Doha a global hub for business and leisure travel.
This airport is one of the most architecturally fascinating terminal buildings in the world, as well as one of the most opulent. Located near the Arabian Gulf, Hamad International Airport, with its chic Passenger Terminal Complex, offers the first glimpse of Qatar to visitors. Here are five of the most captivating architectural aspects of the airport.
An Ode to the Country
While the airport has a contemporary design aesthetic, it pays homage to Qatar’s rich cultural heritage and natural environment.
The airport has a dramatic, curved shape that is evocative of ocean waves and sand dunes; it also houses a unique, dedicated Emiri Terminal, which resembles the curvature of sails from sailboats. The airport’s mosque is shaped like a water drop and its control tower is designed to be evocative of a crescent moon.
The departure hall of HIA features a light-filled, undulating roof and steel-framed glass walls offering clear views of the ticketing halls. A large wooden ceiling, in the longest concourse, provides visual warmth, which contrasts with the sleek metal and glass surfaces found throughout the airport. An automatic glass train links the airport’s two large transfer hubs. The entire space features skylights and glass walls, offering natural light and unobstructed desert views to passengers.
A Warm Welcome
The airport has a mosque, two hotels, 12 lounges, large duty-free shopping areas and a health club with two squash courts, a gym, a spa and a swimming pool. An expansive public art program exhibits the works of acclaimed local and international artists. The airport also features the famous ‘Lamp Bear’ by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. HOK says, “Our design of the main passenger terminal emphasises Qatari hospitality and its Gulf-side location. The terminal gives visitors a spectacular and lasting impression of the country while providing them with a five-star travel experience.”
Biggest Building in Doha
The airport, built on reclaimed land, is located amidst a spectacular man-made lagoon, well-manicured gardens and a natural bay. The airport is about a third of the size of Doha, with a 600,000 square metre and four-stories-high Passenger Terminal Complex that equates to 75 soccer fields. Currently, the airport has the capacity to handle 8,700 passengers per hour, more than 30 million passengers a year, and is undergoing further expansion to accommodate more than 50 million passengers. HIA has two parallel runways, among the longest in the world, designed to cater to next-generation aircrafts including the Airbus A380.
Furthermore, all wastewater from this airport is recycled. The treated water is used to irrigate the gardens around the building. HIA is designed and built to conserve energy required for keeping the temperature cool. The walls of the passenger terminal are coated with solar reflective material, and the ceiling is insulated and designed with overhang shading.