Taking inspiration from Norman Foster’s passion for piloting, the models in this collection, based on the ‘Flight Archive Gallery’ at the Norman Foster Foundation explore flight as an activity that goes beyond mere transport. While creating large-scale infrastructural impacts, the works in this collection attend to the human dimension of experiencing flight
· Stansted Airport, Stansted, UK, 1981-1992
· Hong Kong International Airport, Chek Lap Kok,
Hong Kong, China, 1992-1998
· Beijing International Airport, Beijing Airport, 2002-
· Mexico City International Airport, Mexico City,
· Droneport, Multiple Locations, 2015-Ongoing
Structural Study Model, Mexico City International Airport
Concept Drawing, Droneport
Stansted Airport, Norman Foster's first airport project, forever revolutionised the airport typology by creating an unobstructed, light-filled terminal that maintains a consistent relationship between passenger, plane, and landscape. This was achieved by removing bulky service systems from the roof and, as seen in the building's section, placing them below the terminal. Stansted’s structural trees allowed this reconfiguration while permitting the development of structural and roof elements as a light-filtering devices, in an sculptural solution.
Building upon successive innovations in airport design and the early vision of the Climotroffice, the process drawings for the New International Airport of Mexico City’s suggest a mission to distil the many distinct structural elements associated with airports into a single, highly functional building skin. The 3D printed study model and the luminous, unobstructed terminal rendering represent the result: a continuous glass envelope capable whose triangulated structure allows it to achieve spans three times the length of conventional airports.
Representing the continual refinement of the principles developed through the Stansted Airport structural tree, the designs of Chep Lak Kok and Beijing International Airport similarly create unobstructed, easily navigable terminals at an enormous scale. At the time of its completion, Chep Lak Kok represented the world’s largest airport terminal, only to later be overtaken by Beijing Capital International Airport at nearly twice the size. The tessellated glass envelope seen in the model for the New Mexico City International Airport represents the latest continuation of this legacy by dissolving boundaries between wall and roof, and thereby creating internal spans of up to 170 meters.
The Droneport developed by the Norman Foster Foundation builds upon these projects in order to connect areas on the African continent without adequate land infrastructure. As suggested from left to right in the displayed prototype, a metal formwork allows for the construction of a vaulted module that can be built by residents using earthen bricks made locally. The project, which maintains a cooperative relationship with the Rwandan government, proposes that flexible configurations of these vaults can not only serve as a hub for drones carrying medical supplies but also as multi-use community centres.