Norman Foster and Mexican architect Fernando Romero have won a competition to design one of the largest and “most sustainable” airports in the world for Mexico City.

The 555,000 square metre terminal will be enclosed within a single, lightweight prefabricated structure, designed for rapid construction with minimal waste.

The translucent glass and steel gridshell will allow natural light to filter into the terminal, with a vaulted roof intended to make reference to traditional Mexican architecture and symbolism.

According to Foster, the single airport enclosure will achieve new levels of efficiency and flexibility.

“The experience for passengers will be unique. Its design provides the most flexible enclosure possible to accommodate internal change and an increase in capacity," said Foster.

Despite its size, the architects claim the airport will use significantly less energy, as short walking distances and few level changes will eliminate the need for ancillary transportation and tunnels. 

Solar power and rainwater harvesting will also be used to reduce the building's carbon footprint.

For most of the year, comfortable indoor temperatures will be maintained using natural ventilation, with little or no additional heating or cooling required.

Work will start on the new building early next year and it is expected to be completed by 2018.

Courtesy Inhabitat