Amman is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, and the Queen Alia International Airport resonates with a sense of place and local architecture. The QAIA represents a unique collaboration and teamwork between the world renowned firm Foster + Partners and maisam architects + engineers. This joint effort materializes a relationship between a star architect working in tandem with a local firm, and underlines the success of the project. AIG won the tender of the Government of Jordan to rehabilitate, expand and operate the airport.
maisam were selected to work on the new terminal building, to act as the reviewer on all retail/outlet fit-outs inside the terminal, and to provide the BOT consortium that includes Airport De Paris and J&P among other partners with the detailed design and construction documents for this project in collaboration with Foster + Partners. These involved making sure that all designs and works executed in the terminal were in accordance with the technical standards and requirements of the building, in addition to respect the overall look and feel of the design intent of the terminal interior space. maisam also were chosen to develop the design and supervised the construction works of many amenities and outlets in the terminal which include Starbucks, Global Exchange, Jordan River Foundation store, the Royal Jordanian Crown Lounge and the VIP Lounge.
The airport’s highly efficient passive design, which is inspired by local traditions, is based on a flexible modular unit that will allow for future expansion. Constructed entirely from concrete, in response to Amman’s climate, the tessellated roof canopy comprises a series of shallow domes which extend to shade the façade. The domes branch out from their supporting columns echoing black flowing fabric of a Bedouin tent and reflects a geometric pattern based on traditional Islamic forms. These concrete modular units incorporate local gravel to reduce maintenance requirements, the embodied energy of the material, and to harmonize with the natural shades of the Jordanian Sand.
The new terminal building is glazed on all sides to allow uninterrupted views of the aircrafts. Horizontal louvers shade the facades from direct sunlight and eliminate glare. There are references to the Jordanian tradition of hospitality with an enlarged forecourt to create a landscaped plaza with seating, shaded by trees in celebration of the custom family group congregations that bid farewell and welcome travelers at the airport. Two piers of departure gates span along either side of the central terminal, which contains the traveler processing areas, shops, lounges and restaurants. A feature of vernacular architecture- open air courtyards- is introduced between the departure gates which also contribute to the terminal’s environmental strategy.
The expansion of the airport in Amman presents a unique opportunity to secure Queen Alia International Airport as a main hub in the Levant Region. This is a chance to create a new world class hub for travelers in the Middle East. The new Queen Alia International Airport is much more than a vehicle for arrival and departure- it is a symbol of a place and a gateway to the nation.