Ben Gurion Intl. Airport - Airside Terminal

Tel Aviv, Israel, 2004 / Middle East / Transportation

As the main gateway to Israel, Ben Gurion International Airport is designed as a sequence of spaces characterized by a profusion of natural daylight, with ceremonial arrival halls, dramatic communal gathering areas and lush feature gardens. The Airport brings together a land-side terminal accommodating ticketing, customs, immigration, and baggage claim; an air-side complex including a ramping connector linking the landside facilities; and a spacious rotunda accommodating dining and retail facilities. Concourses radiate from the rotunda to the gates.

Careful consideration was given to the reduction of level changes for both arriving and departing passengers. The ramped connector negotiates the necessary level changes without requiring passengers to utilize escalators or elevators, and also creates a dramatic gateway to the country with arriving and departing passengers sharing the space. Departing passengers check in and descend through the connector into the rotunda and down the concourses to their gates. Arriving passengers ascend through bridges at the gates to a mezzanine level overlooking the concourses and the rotunda, then descend towards passport control through the connector.

View of the ramped connector.

The heart of the airport is the rotunda, defined by an inverted dome pierced by an oculus through which a waterfall flows. The rotunda is a generous, urban-feeling common and is a popular waiting area for the many families making their passage through the terminal.

Rain falling upon the suspended dome drains towards the center and enters the rotunda through an oculus skylight as a waterfall. In the dry season, a continuous flow of water washes the roof, contributing to the rotunda’s cooling and forming a fountain through the oculus.

Throughout the terminal, the access to daylight and views helps bring a clear spatial order to a functionally complex building.

Passengers circulate through a sequence of light and airy spaces, terminating in a planted garden. Spaces open dramatically to the airside through large glass walls.

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