Combining stunning natural beauty with cultural hubs and a dynamic urban environment, Brisbane is fast becoming one of Australia’s major tourist attractions. The riverside city attracts droves of international tourists each year, and has become an important gateway city for travellers visiting or passing through the country. In line with this, the number of flights to and from Brisbane International Airport has skyrocketed, as have visitor numbers and the demand for enhanced efficiency. Responding to these pressing concerns, Brisbane National Airport Corporation engaged global construction company Laing O’Rourke to deliver a $120 million expansion of the International Northern Terminal.

Construction on the project commenced in late 2016 and was completed in February 2018, and resulted in the addition of 13 500m2 to the existing northern concourse. The extension is comprised of several components designed to enhance the passenger experience: six new boarding zones, two new walkout gates, and four new aerobridges. Overall, the extension caters to the growing demand for flights directly in and out of Brisbane, and streamlines the boarding process by providing more space for – and in turn, a more pleasant experience of – boarding and disembarking. The additional space also increases the terminal’s capacity to accommodate new, larger aircraft including the Airbus A380.

In delivering the project, Laing O’Rourke sought to create a world-class interior that was spacious, calming, and uncluttered. The client’s brief was to create an interior environment that maximised efficiency and user comfort and reflected a contemporary aesthetic that would remain relevant for years to come. To achieve this, Laing O’Rourke enlisted the expertise of local architecture and interiors heavyweights Woods Bagot and ceiling specialists Armstrong Ceilings.

Throughout the project, collaboration between Armstrong Ceilings and Woods Bagot was crucial. “We met with Woods Bagot early on to run over the project’s design intent, and discovered that service integration was an integral part of the finished product,” explained Logan Andrews, QLD and NT State Manager of Armstrong Ceilings, “We then set out to provide a number of solutions that met this design intent.”

Accordingly, Armstrong Ceilings provided four different ceiling solutions that met the various and unique needs of the terminal’s different spaces. For the main ceilings, they provided 3000m2 of Armstrong MetalWorks C300 Perforated Linear Planks paired with concealed suspension and 100mm colour-matched aluminium Axiom Perimeter Trims. The ceilings of the departures and arrivals lounges feature 1000m2 of Armstrong Ultima+ Tegular Edge ceiling tiles mounted on a 24mm Bluetongue Aluminium two-way suspension grid. Sleek, contemporary, and minimalist, the lounges are strongly aligned with modern international design trends and place the terminal on the map for modern design.

To combat elevated noise levels caused by high volume, constant user traffic in the main concourse, Armstrong Ceilings provided a solution comprised of MetalWorks V-P 500 Perforated Acoustic Baffles on a custom white U-Profile Suspension Grid. The resulting ceiling features sharp, regular design lines and allows for ample natural light to flood the concourse, creating an overall impression of space and brightness while keeping noise levels at a comfortable, manageable level.

To manage the transition from the concourse to the departure lounge ceilings, Armstrong supplied WoodWorks Linear Battens in striking Spotted Gum. Extending from the upper V-P 500 Acoustical baffling and down the bulkhead face, the battens align horizontally with the Armstrong C300 Linear Planks, and are intercut by dramatic linear lighting.

The overall effect is a neat, streamlined appearance that embodies the project’s skilful marrying of functionality with the architect’s design intent. The expanded terminal has been in operation since early 2018, and will continue to service Brisbane’s growing number of international travellers with ease for years to come.

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