Foster + Partners to design Marseille Airport extension


British company Foster + Partners has won the design competition for the extension of Marseille Provence Airport in France.

The extension project will enable the international airport to serve 12 million passengers per year, excluding terminal MP2, future-proofing the development until 2046.

Apart from restoring the clarity in layout and expression in Fernand Pouillon’s 1960s original, the project will add the ‘missing piece’ to the 1992 extension by Richard Rogers, bringing the group of buildings together.

Under the phase one of the project, a new ‘Coeur’ will be created to improve the arrival and departure sequences within a single building for the smooth progression through the terminal for passengers.

The Coeur will be a 22-metre-high glazed hall with an inverted beam roof, 33-metre-deep span and a continuous grid of glass skylights that act like giant lanterns to bring natural light and air deep into the building.

According to the design, departing passengers will pass through security screening on the first floor, overlooking the arrivals level below.

After passing through a multimedia screen, the passengers enter a shops and restaurants area, which consists of seating areas and trees. This area will offer the passengers a view of the aircraft and landing bays, with lounges and panoramic terrace on the upper levels.

The Coeur will cover the existing 1990s building.

Under the project’s second phase, an additional pier with 12 aerobridges will be built. Most of the modular structure will be prefabricated offsite and erected on a fast-track schedule to minimise the impact on day-to-day operations at the airport.

Foster + Partners head of studio Grant Brooker said: “Marseille Airport has grown extensively and incrementally over the last 60 years. Our goal is to design a generous pavilion that reconnects all parts of the existing buildings, simplifying the flow of people between them and creating a new welcoming gateway to the region.

“The new terminal features a panoramic terrace overlooking the airport and the landscape beyond, and is entirely top lit, capturing the bright Provençal sunlight and paying homage to the bold architectural spirit of Fernand Pouillon’s original building.”

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