Plans unveiled for sustainable city inside South Korea’s largest airport


Plans unveiled for sustainable city inside South Korea’s largest airport

Despite having been rated as the best airport in the world by Airports Council International for the past eight years, Incheon International Airport in South Korea will be upgraded with a sustainable mini-city within its premises. Responsible for the new design, architecture firm Gensler and HMGY Consortium, disclosed the plans for expansive koi ponds, a shopping district and energy-smart design of the new Terminal 2.


South Korea’s largest and busiest airport, Incheon International Airport, often referred to as the ‘behemoth airport’, currently provides services ranging from a golf course and indoor ice skating rink, to a wide range of boutique shops. To set Terminal 2 apart from its predecessor, Gensler Architects and HMGY focused on energy efficiency in their design, integrating sustainable elements such as the optimisation of natural ventilation, lighting and the implementation of photovoltaic cells.


Sustainable Design

To combine the sustainable nature of the new terminal and Korean culture, the architects designed the structure in the shape of a phoenix, the Korean symbol of strength, longevity and authority. 


The terminal will boast ultra-efficient HVAC and air distribution systems, building-integrated photovoltaic cells, and artificial lighting will be minimised through the installation of large skylights. Amongst the outstanding features of the new 7.4 million square foot terminal will be a variety of outdoor features such as running waterfalls, streams, aviaries and acres of themed gardens.


Terence Young, Design Director at Gensler, said, "Where we think we can affect sustainability is that cultural piece: If the airports continue to evolve technologies of efficiency while simultaneously educating and inspiring stewardship of millions of passengers each year, we can be part of the overall solution of reducing negative impacts.” He particularly lists Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport as an excellent example of sustainable and energy efficient Gensler design that produces little waste.


Terminal 2 is planned to be constructed using locally sourced materials such as granite quarried from nearby areas and regionally-felled wood. The terminal is expected to open in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.