Industry News

SOM completes ‘terminal in a garden’ for India’s Kempegowda International Airport


Image credit: Ar. Ekansh Goel © Studio Recall

The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed Terminal 2 at India’s Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru has opened to passengers. Inspired by the ‘garden city’ heritage of Bengaluru, the designers describe the airport terminal as “a serene multimodal transit hub that radically reimagines the airport experience.”

Designed in collaboration with landscape architects Grant Associates and designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla (AJSK), SOM’s vision for a “terminal in a garden” sought to heighten the presence of nature in the airport experience. The main terminal block, housing check-in, immigration, security, retail, arrivals, and baggage claim, is separated from the terminal’s departure gates by a 295-foot-wide, multilevel “forest belt” housing native plants, pathways, and bamboo-clad, multistory pavilions.

“For Terminal 2, SOM’s design inverts every expectation of how an airport can look and feel,” said SOM Managing Partner Laura Ettelman about the scheme. “With a focus on the passenger, we have created a rich, sensory experience.”

Elsewhere, the terminal’s interior design includes hanging plants and skylights to “complete the space with rich, sensory detail,” alongside bamboo materials and custom furnishings clad in ivory brown granite, umbered red bricks, and traditionally woven rattan. “The garden design reminds travelers of the rich landscape scenery of the verdant city,” SOM notes.

The terminal’s structural system and rectilinear form are designed with flexibility to accommodate changes over time as the city grows. All terminal gates are equipped to handle single wide-body aircraft for international flights or two narrow-body aircraft for domestic flights, meaning the terminal can alternate between 12 wide-body gates and 28 narrow-body gates. The scheme can also expand to 20 wide-body gates in the future.

Among the scheme’s sustainability credentials is pre-certified LEED Platinum from the US Green Building Council, the largest terminal in the world to be awarded the accolade, alongside Platinum certification from the Indian Green Building Council. ‘In addition to the visible extensive outdoor areas, the terminal implements numerous sophisticated sustainable innovations, enabling the terminal to run entirely on renewable energy,” SOM explains. “The abundant vegetation uses water that is harvested on site and the indoor waterfalls cool the interior environment.”

The 2.7 million-square-foot terminal has increased the airport’s annual passenger capacity by 25 million, and will soon be accompanied by a 1.3 million-square-foot multi-modal transit hub to connect the airport to Bengaluru city. The hub, comprising a two-level, T-shaped form, will merge public transit with outdoor retail, event, and entertainment areas.

News of the scheme comes one week after SOM shared photographs of their new Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA. Earlier in December, meanwhile, the firm was selected to design a major EV manufacturing plant for Rivian in Georgia.