A massive construction project is under way in Qatar to build a new airport to meet the rapid growth in air traffic that has resulted from the country’s economic boom.
The new airport is being built in phases on a 22 sq km site adjacent to Doha’s existing airport, with half the site being on reclaimed land.
Halcrow has played an important role in the development by designing the buildings that house all the operational activities needed to keep the airport in operation. These include the main fire station, general aviation terminal and hangar, solid waste collection facilities, administration buildings, workshops, and an employee mosque, canteen, and medical centre.
We were appointed by El Seif Engineering Contracting, which won a $180 million design and build contract to deliver the operational buildings. Our role was to provide not just the architectural design, but also the structural, civil, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering.
Throughout the airport many of the new buildings have a water theme, with curved roofs based on the shape of a wave. This theme has been carried through to many of the operational buildings, which have wave-like roofs providing shade to the buildings or facilities below, supported by steel tree connectors to external columns.
Halcrow designed the buildings to withstand a combination of challenging conditions, including high temperatures, high humidity and the effects of sand being blown by strong winds. The design of all the foundations and below ground structures includes protection from the potentially damaging effects of high chloride and sulphate levels.
The fire stations, workshops and hangar are built from steel frames enclosing substantial open spaces, with internal offices and stores formed from concrete. Roofs in these areas feature triangular trusses that provide open spaces without columns. The administration and medical centre buildings have multi-storey concrete frames.
The employee mosque and surrounding ablutions, walls and landscaping feature high quality finishes, including concrete, tiling, timber and steelwork, and has a dome that is supported by a substantial transfer structure to create a fully open space inside.
Construction of the $14bn airport development is due to be completed in 2011. When the New Doha International Airport opens it will be capable of handling 24 million passengers a year, twice the current capacity.