With the new terminal at Cologne/Bonn, the airport’s handling capacity is expected to increase from 7 to 17.5 million passengers.
The necessary flexibility could only be attained with an airport on two levels, where passengers arriving are separated from those departing.
A first and second building stage was to be planned as part of an architecture competition. The masterplan envisaged a second runway. The use of the military base would expire when the new runway came into use.
In order to avoid further construction on the Wahner Heide nature reserve, which surrounds the airport, a closed ring concept was developed. The ring is extended by satellites for long-haul flights. Strict security regulations had to be observed and the listed building had to remain untouched.
Instead of having the middle of the airport burdened with new functions, the traffic in the centre of the terminal was to be reduced. The island in the centre of the new access road was to be turned into a biotope.
Two considerably different strands of development were intended. The design idea was to give clarity and symbolic character to individual traffic. Visitors drive along the periphery of the nature reserve away from Wahner Heide beyond the runway into the airport. The distinctive roundness of the building can be clearly recognised from the drivers’ perspective. The streamlined airport centre emerging prominently from the overall complex rises above the lower-level ring. Viewed from the air, a super-sign was intended to replace the accumulation of individual buildings. The new building was to be recognised immediately from the air as an enclosed structure.
Approaching from the autobahn, motorists drive past the apron, dipping underneath it before emerging onto a roundabout in the centre of the airport. The visibility of the aircraft has the advantage of enhanced orientation for drivers. In the inner connecting circle, drivers choose the arrivals or departures level or park in the basement.
The visual link from the airport entrance to the aircraft gives a clear structure to the radial arrangement. The overall passenger volume is managed by four central high-security areas with open waiting zones for several gates. Development on two levels permits improved terminal orientation as this allows specific gates to be recognised from the approach road. Stopover possibilities for transit passengers should include meeting areas for business travellers. Therefore passengers have a view from the terminal to the centre of the airport and the garden.
The transparent glass cladding and facades offers on the one hand a free view right up to the various aircraft and on the other hand a view from the terminal to the atrium with conference rooms, hotel and restaurants.
- Köln/Bonn, Germany
international competition 1992