Spirit of India

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Left: Paintings of Bollywood stars are displayed on the wall of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2

One of the most unique things about the new Terminal 2 (T2) at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), also known as Mumbai Airport, is that it is home to India’s largest public art programme. The art represents what the terminal is all about – a facility that reflects the spirit of India and provides a welcoming front door to the country’s most populous city, Mumbai.

The Rs5,500 crore (£540m) T2, which can cater for up to 40 million passengers annually, was inaugurated in January and, at time of going to press, was set to begin international operations on 12 February 2014. Chhatrapati’s Terminal 1A and 1C will continue to operate after the opening of T2, which is split across four levels: level four for international departures; level three for domestic departures; level two for arrivals; and level one for ground transportation.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the 439,000m² terminal captures the culture of India through design aesthetics and artwork. Roger Duffy, FAIA, SOM design partner, says, “India is known for its hospitality, vibrant colours and rich cultural heritage. The design of the terminal sought to provide a sense of welcome and warmth through the various materials and finishes employed. Wood ceilings, natural stones and intimate lighting all contribute to create an environment that is more akin to a gracious hotel than a typical, machine-like airport. The prevalence of local art and artefacts further elevates the ambience of terminal.”

Right: Artefacts are embedded in

the 3km-long art wall

Gateway to India

T2’s public art programme, titled

‘Jaya He’ (Glory to India), is presented in the form of a 3km-long multistorey

art wall illuminated by skylights. The programme has more than 7,000

pieces of artwork and artefacts from across India, and is divided into two sections – ‘Thresholds of India’ located in departures, and ‘Layered

Narratives’ in arrivals.

“The point of entry into Mumbai, Layered Narratives, explores aspects of Mumbai’s changing landscapes and culture, and the dreams and dynamics of urban India,” explains a spokesperson from Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), which runs CSIA. “The Thresholds of India runs symmetrically throughout the terminal on all four levels, forming an immense tableau of India’s cultural legacy, living traditions and contemporary artistic expression, presented as six thematic compositions – India Elemental, India Seamless, India Greets, India Silent Sentinels, India Moves and India Global.”

To assist and guide passengers through the art programme, a team of art writers and historians were commissioned to write about the pieces – this information can be viewed on kiosks placed strategically alongside the works.

To further capture the culture of the country, T2 includes features specific to India such as 1,000 chandeliers inspired by the lotus flower and a ‘diya curtain wall’ created by a wavy metal sheet embedded with 10,000 diyas, a decorative light native to India. The check-in hall, which features 208 check-in counters, drew inspiration from India’s national bird, the peacock. The terminal’s 30 multistorey columns and ceiling are inspired by 1,000 white peacocks in the sky and portrayed through small disks of glass embedded into the canopy. At the arrivals corridor, carpets inspired by the Indian paisley pattern were also laid out.

Duffy expands on SOM’s role in the project: “The SOM design team spent a week in Delhi and Mumbai immersing themselves in traditional Indian art and architecture. This formed a foundation for many of the cultural installations found in the terminal. T2 resonates with a sense of place and local culture. The terminal’s form – a grand headhouse rising above the concourses below – is inspired by traditional Indian pavilions.

“The headhouse ceiling is perhaps the highlight of the terminal. It creates the iconic image from the approach and defines the largest spaces of the interior. Travellers are sheltered underneath this highly articulated, coffered ceiling, surrounded by an array of multistorey columns. Structurally, the long-span capabilities of the steel truss structure allow for the spacing of these columns to be far enough apart to not only give a feeling of openness to the large processing areas below, but also to allow for maximum flexibility in the arrangement of ticket counters and other processing facilities.”

Left:  208 check-in counters are sheltered under the 4.5ha white roof

Technological touches

MIAL says technology was a major factor in the development of the terminal, to enhance passenger experience and operational efficiency. The baggage handling system was one of the new installations at T2, designed to handle 9,600 bags per hour, and expandable up to 10,800 bags per hour.

“At T2, technology greets passengers at every level. In the check-in area, passengers will be able to directly check in through interactive touchscreen kiosks, which are designed to service multiple passenger needs including scanning, printing, e-ticketing, etc,” says the MIAL spokesperson. “The baggage handling system is equipped with India’s first world-class energy-efficient automated LS-4000E tilt tray sorters from the Beumer Group with induction conveyors. It is also furnished with an intelligent sorting system used at the decision points to route the bags as per screening decisions. This will enhance baggage processing and ensure the necessary drop-off time is met for collection by ground handlers for the bags to make it to the aircraft on time.”

Common-use equipment has been installed to optimise check-in facilities, which allows any airline to use any check-in counter within the terminal. The common-use equipment provides further flexibility through the ability to land a bag from any counter to any baggage make-up.

Right: Common-use check-in counters

Duffy says the shared use of common facilities will help anticipate future growth: “These strategies result in a smaller building serving a higher number of passengers than one in which all facilities are strictly dedicated to either international or domestic use, or assigned permanently to specific airlines,” he comments. “In addition, there is space to add primary processors, as well as additional transfer points. The long-span roof in the headhouse means the primary departures space – including check-in, security screening, and passport control – can be column-free, allowing for flexibility in the arrangement of ticket counters and other processing facilities.”

To facilitate the terminal’s 40 million annual passenger capacity, 60 emigration counters and 124 security checkpoints were installed. After check-in and security, international passengers are led to a retail hub, while domestic passengers proceed down to level three, along the terminal’s palm and waterfall gardens to the domestic retail hub. The commercial plazas, spread over a combined area of 18,600m², are centrally located at the junction of the concourses and the terminal core, to provide close proximity to the 52 departure gates.

T2 also features India’s first Airport Joint Control Centre, which houses all stakeholders from security to airline officials and airport operations. The centre was built to facilitate collaborative decision making to ensure timely operational coordination and enhance speed in decision making during emergency situations.

In addition to airport equipment, technology was incorporated into the terminal’s sustainable and environmentally friendly design. Sewage recycling, water recycling and rainwater harvesting technologies were used to contribute to a 20% reduction in water use, over and above the LEED baseline. 

Furthermore, the terminal achieves optimal thermal performance and mitigates glare through a glazing system with a custom frit pattern. Perforated metal panels on the terminal’s curtain wall filter natural sunlight into T2, while responsive daylight controls balance outdoor and indoor light levels for optimal energy savings. Combined with strategically placed skylights throughout the check-in hall, T2’s energy consumption has been reduced by 23%.

Left: Exterior rendering of the headhouse from the approach roadway

Construction challenges

The site of the new terminal building was located in close proximity to the existing terminal, which had to remain fully operational during construction. In order to make space for the new terminal, the old terminal had to be demolished in parts so that T2 could be built.

Outlining the challenges faced during construction and planning phases, Duffy says, “Planning the new terminal to treble the capacity of the existing terminal on a highly constrained site was a major challenge. We needed to plan the terminal in such a way that it could be constructed in front of and around the existing terminal. This required constructing temporary access roads and a car park, as well as adding contact gates to the east side so that the western third could be demolished.

“Another challenge was the need to accommodate large numbers of accompanying well-wishers, a traditional Indian custom. To celebrate this tradition, we designed wide drop-off curbs at the terminal’s entrance with ample space for departure rituals. The headhouse’s transparent façade also allows accompanying well-wishers, who must remain outside of the terminal due to Indian aviation regulations, to watch as their friends and family depart.”

The 15m-tall glass façade is the longest in the world, according to the airport, and provides a transparent view into the check-in hall. A multilevel car park with 5,200 spaces, the largest in India, was also constructed to cater for the short-term and long-term parking needs of passengers. Six-lane elevated access roads were constructed to cater for 70% of the airport traffic and aid in shortening the journey to departures from the existing 3.8km shared road, to 3.35km.

Next steps

MIAL expects T2 to provide Mumbai Airport with a revenue boost and improve Mumbai’s prospects as an aviation hub. “The state-of-the-art Terminal 2 with world-class amenities will attract more airlines to operate from the city. Currently, there is a good mix of carriers, but we are targeting long-haul airlines connecting Europe and the USA, as well as emerging markets such as China, Africa and South America. Additionally, with an increased number of check-in and immigration counters, the enhanced infrastructure facilities will make travelling in and out of Mumbai faster and better,” explains the MIAL spokesperson.

MIAL says it is already working on the next step for the airport.

“The journey for us is not complete as we gear up for the next phase of terminal development for integrating domestic operations. This will take at least a year. Additionally work on airside enhancement will be a continuous process. Currently work is in progress on two rapid exit taxiways that are slated to be complete by June this year. This will significantly improve the CSIA runway capacity.”

Furthermore, to account for future growth, the southeast pier of T2 has been designed for expansion to provide five to six extra wide-body gates. The design also allows for expansion to the east and west with single-loaded piers.

February 19, 2014

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Kirstie joined the team in early 2017 and brings writing, communications and client experience with her. Now an assistant editor, she produces content for our magazines and websites. Away from the office, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or searching the internet for photos of sausage dogs.

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