Stansted, United Kingdom
SIR NORMAN FOSTER ASSOCIATES
Sir Norman Foster Associates design for London’s third major airport revisits some of Eero Saarinen’s ambitions for Dulles International in Washington, D.C. —namely, to simplify the travel experience and to whisk travelers directly to their flights.
At both Dulles and Stansted, passengers cross the terminal on one level while baggage and support functions are handled below.
Stansted also uses a railed transport system to move passengers from the terminal that is conceptually similar to the rolling passenger lounges of Dulles.
This transport strategy enables both airports to separate the terminal building from the aircraft boarding area and simplify passenger transition from land to air and back again.
At Stansted, however, shuttles leave departure lounges from the terminal and carry passengers to satellite mini-terminals out on the runway.
These small satellites are easily accessed by aircraft through conventional gates and jetways and are geared
to higher-volume passenger flows than the Dulles mobile lounges could ever accommodate.
Simplicity at Stansted is achieved by repetition of modular “trees” that integrate structure, daylighting, artificial light, mechanical services, terminal and flight information, and even fire safety requirements.
Where Saarinen used the sophisticated cable hammock roof to span the entire Dulles terminal, Foster maintains the effect of a single room while breaking the span down into 118 ft (36 m)
Instead of the monumental concrete roof of Dulles, Stansted is covered with a lightweight series of skylit domes supported by transparent structure.