With a form chosen to provide identity and make it an iconic modern landmark for Maldives, the design of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport is responsive to climate, culture and character.
The island nation of Maldives needs little introduction. A small archipelagic country in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, Maldives lies southwest of India, around 700 kms from the Asian continent’s mainland. Hanimaadhoo is one of the small, inhabited islands in the Haa Dhaalu Atoll, in the north of the country. Located on the island, Hanimaadhoo International Airport is one of the three international airports in the country. The redevelopment project is an expansion, modernization and upgradation of the existing airport infrastructure to a world-class and state-of-the-art airport campus, with all required facilities. The airport campus has been planned and designed as an architecturally unique, innovative passenger and sea terminal building, serving as a gateway to the island of Hanimaadhoo. The aerodrome development is based on the following phasing strategy:
- Phase-I Development for Code-C type of aircrafts (A 320/ B737), and 2. Phase-II development for Code-E type of aircrafts (B777/A330)
PROJECT DEVELOPMENT & CURRENT STATUS
The existing airport has one runway measuring 1,220 m. The existing airport was upgraded to an international airport in early 2012, with the introduction of direct flights to Thiruvananthapuram in India by Maldivian Airlines. The design scope involved in redeveloping the airport lies in creating an iconic structure and a world class gateway for the people of Maldives. The USD 140 million mega project, which is funded through a USD 800 million Line of Credit from EXIM Bank of India, was developed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). India has engaged in seven major infrastructure projects in the country under this Line of Credit.
The Design Phase of the project was led by AAI with the initiation of an International Design Competition/Tender in late 2020, to appoint the Technical Design Consultants to work with AAI in developing and delivering the design to the Government of the Republic of Maldives, the end client, for onward construction bidding of the project. The Competition was won by a consortium of architects and engineers, namely Somnium London Ltd, London, UK (Lead Concept Design Architect), Studio DRA International Designers Pvt Ltd, India (Local Delivery Architects and Project Managers) and Meinhardt Group, India (Engineers and Programme Managers). The design consortium worked through the Design and Detail Development Phases of the project under the leadership of AAI, who also led the Airfield Planning of the Airport, before the design was delivered to the end client in 2021 for construction bidding. In August 2022, JMC Projects of India was awarded the project and construction is now expected to begin by the end of 2022, with a tentative project completion within two years.
The project includes major infrastructure and operational upgradation for airside, landside and building infrastructure to meet the future growth of traffic to the Maldives and maintain International Civil Aviation Organization standards. The components of the Master Planning broadly included the following components:
- Airside Infrastructure; 2. Landside/Cityside Infrastructure
- Passenger Terminal Building; 4. Sea Terminal Building
- Ancillary Buildings
An Iconic & Innovative Passenger Terminal Building is proposed as an integrated facility. The Sea Terminal and the Passenger Terminal approach roads are accommodated within the extended roof of the Terminal Building. On the airside, the proposed runway has been realigned for Code-4E operations with negligible reclamation. The proposed runway is 2,460 m long in Phase 1 serving Code 4C operations and shall be extended to 3,000 m in Phase 2 for Code 4E operations. On the cityside, road network, visitors parking facilities for private cars, taxis, bus coach and staff parking have been provided, including a kerb area with shaded walkways for pick-up and drop-off zones. The airport campus has been designed for redevelopment, by providing space for hotels and resorts.
TERMINAL PLANNING CONCEPT
Facilities Planning: The Design Team has worked closely with the Airports Authority of India and client/stakeholders to develop the Concept Design and establish a clear ‘Basis of Design’. The Design Team aimed at delivering an exemplary project of world class quality.
Passenger Terminal Building: The proposed Two-Level Passenger Terminal Building of modular design with all modern facilities and amenities is designed to handle 1.3 million passengers per annum with a peak hour passenger (PHP) capacity of 600 (400 Domestic + 200 International). It’ll have an area of 10,230 sq m including land/seaside connectivity and passenger facilitation of an additional 1,560 sq m in Phase 1. The building is designed to have aesthetically appealing and soothing modern interiors incorporating local heritage. The Passenger Terminal is designed to handle Code C aircraft operations in Phase 1. A Level of Service (LoS) of “C” or higher under IATA guidelines will be achieved. A 300 PHP for both Arrivals and Departures routes has been used for planning the Phase 1 facilities of the airport. The terminal building is designed with an iconic roof structure, inspired by the aerodynamic form of the stingray. The space frame roof extends over the approach road and Sea Terminal building to integrate them as a single entity.
Sea Terminal: The proposed multi-level Jetty Terminal building, leading to the jetties for parking of Sea Planes and Anchorage for Ferries, is designed to cater to peak hour passenger capacity of 70 pax. The Sea Terminal is planned in two levels with Arrival & Departure processing zones at Ground Level and F&B, Loungers & Retail area at first floor level. The area of the Sea Terminal building is 1,560 sq m for Phase 1.
Land Use Strategy: Tourism is a booming industry in Hanimaadhoo with a planned city hotel as well as guesthouses in the pipeline. A large area of the island was declared as a tourism development zone by the President of Maldives in 2013. The current city hotel is within the tourism zone and there are other opportunities for similar development in the zone. Tourism sector creates employment opportunities for the people of the island and contributes greatly to the local economy. The master planning focuses on using the available land for following uses:
- Airport Hotels in Phase II
- Residential & Hostel Blocks in Phase I & II
- Sea Resorts in Phase II
Support Ancillary Buildings: The various support ancillary buildings to be constructed under the Phase I Development Works of Hanimaadhoo International Airport are:
- ATC Tower and ARFF Block
- Residential and Hostel Blocks
- ESS and Utility Block
- Cargo Building and Hangar Block
- Fuel Farm and Fuel Jetty
- Sewage Treatment Plant and Desalination Plant
- GSE Storage Facility
Inspiration From Nature: The design inspiration is drawn from the natural beauty of the ocean and the natural habitat of the coral islands of Maldives. The form of the Terminal building derives its inspiration from the free flowing, organic shape of streamlined sea creatures, in particular the stingray. The form follows the function; the rolling flippers of the ‘Ray’ form curved canopies to mark the entrances over the approach road and the roof extensions over the airside exterior support spaces. The free-flowing fluid geometry adds a dynamic character to the building, whilst connecting the Air and Sea Terminals under one roof. The form evokes an elevated sense of flight or sailing to the seas. The extraordinary architectural form and the design will put Hanimaadhoo International Airport on the map of world class iconic modern Terminal buildings forming a national landmark.
Envelope Design: An integrated, rationalised, highly engineered inter-disciplinary design is provided to add value to the project, making it a state-of-the-art efficient, sustainable and iconic modern facility. The Terminal building form is realised through an integrated design approach, using a rationalised free form (NURBS-surface), double-curved (synclastic/anticlastic) space frame steel structure, spanning a large distance with minimal column support, achieving a very large open column-free space for processing zones. The structure uses straight CHS members between modular nodes without incurring unnecessary complexities. The space frame is clad using a standing seam metal roofing with a rain screen cladding at opaque sections. For glazed sections of the roof, the space frame integrates solar shading devices above safety skylight glazing, allowing only diffused north light to enter the interior of the building, screening off the harsh equatorial summer sun. At garden areas, the space frame is left open without any roof cladding. The intrinsic aerodynamic shape of the roof profile works well against high winds releasing pressure points in cyclones.
Attention to Detail: A highly detailed and coordinated design is envisioned to provide the best value to the
project through integrated design and engineering, responding appropriately to climate, culture and character. The Design Team researched potential design solutions and systems, and analysed pros and cons of various systems and the appropriateness of their applications through case studies, before arriving at recommended principles to formulate suitable solutions tailored to this project.
Space Frame System: The space frame structure forming the large span lamella free-flowing roof is based on a prefabricated ball node system using CHS truss members connected without requiring field welding. The space frame is envisioned to be in white RAL 9010 satin finish. Where the space frame structure meets the ground to release loads, it is expressed with additional reinforcements. The edge profile of the space frame is a large dia CHS perimeter section. The space frame wraps around the airside front facade and the sea-link terminal facade to form the curtain wall support structure.
Roof Cladding: The roof cladding for opaque roof sections is based on the BEMO-MONRO on BEMO-DOME standing seam metal roofing system, with rain screen metal cladding and open joints to form the triangulated fish scale-like roof skin (RAL-6000 Patina green non-reflective Satin finish). A perforated acoustic metal deck with insulation is used for increased acoustic performance. At glazed skylight sections, pressed metal sunscreen elements are fixed securely to the space frame nodes to screen off the sun, allowing only diffused light from the north to enter through the glass skylights. The sunshade elements are placed 40 mm above the glazing line. On the underside of the canopies where a low roof is required, white Teflon stretched members are installed.
Each space frame node is designed to host an exterior LED uplight to accentuate the curved roof form at night. Similarly, below the space frame, LED downlights are placed at every space frame node. Mineral wool insulation is used in the roof build-up with appropriate application of vapour barrier and drainage mat to ensure an efficient roof with a low U-value and proper drainage. Along the perimeter edge of the roof and valley lines, rainwater channels are integrated within the standing seam roofing system.
An 8m x 8m modular structural grid is considered, however column spacing up to 32 m apart have been achieved supporting the roof. Each CHS column with four high level CHS spokes (Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel – AESS) picking up the nodes of an 8m x 8m grid is proposed. Concrete columns at the lower floor at 8m x 16m spacing on the module are provided only to hold the upper floor plate. All steel for columns is AESS Steel with factory applied intumescent paint RAL 9010 gloss finish. The 8m x 8m structural grid is further broken down to 4m x 4m modules to form the space frame nodes. Steel purlins are fixed between these nodes to further breakdown the framing to 2m x 2m to receive the roof decking.
Roof glazing is fully tempered, laminated, heat soaked, safety glazing with low e-coating and intumescent PVB interlayer to reduce solar gain. The exterior facade glazing overlooking the garden towards the north is an especially low-iron glass for clear visibility and better visual connection.
Project: Redevelopment of Hanimaadhoo International Airport, Maldives
Architects: Somnium London Ltd, London, UK
Client: Government of the Republic of Maldives (end client)
Team: Project Leadership & Airfield Planning: Airports Authority of India (AAI); Lead Design Architect & Concept Designer: Ar. Saumya Ganguli, Director, Somnium London Limited, London, UK; Project Manager: Ar. Kapil Handa, Director, Studio DRA International; Delivery Architects/CGIs: Studio DRA International Designers Pvt Ltd, India; Engineering and
Programme Managers, A/E Design Consortium Lead Consultant: Meinhardt Group, India;
Major Stakeholders: High Commission of India, Maldives; The Ministry of Economic Development, Maldives; The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maldives; The Ministry of Tourism, Maldives; Ministry of External Affairs, India; EXIM Bank, India; Airports Authority of India; Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation (MoTCA)
Area: Phase 1 – Passenger + Sea Terminal Buildings = 11,210 sq m; ATC Tower = 1,714 sq m; Ancillary Buildings Campus + Apron = 9.973 sq m; Apron = 18,603 sq m
Phase 2 – Passenger + Sea Terminal Buildings = 6,560 sq m; Ancillary Buildings Campus + Apron = 8,795 sq m
Phases: International Design Competition/Tender for Appointment of Technical Consultant, Design Development, Bidding, Construction
Current Phase: Construction; JMC Projects (India) Ltd.
Construction Cost: $140 million