London Stansted’s £600m (US$830m) Transformation program will be the biggest upgrade to the airport in nearly 30 years.
London Stansted’s terminal building opened in 1991 with the intention of establishing the airport as London’s third airport. Since MAG acquired London Stansted in 2013, it has been one of the UK’s fastest growing airports with passenger numbers increasing from 17 million a year to over 26 million today.
Stansted Airport has approval to serve up to 35 million passengers per annum (MPPA), however, current projections show the potential to quickly supersede this capacity. The airport has recently submitted a planning application with the local authority to allow it to handle up to 43 MPPA.
With lead architect Pascall+Watson, Ramboll was commissioned by Stansted Airport to undertake the transformation of the airport. This design will meet the demands for short-term growth and set the framework for achieving long-term growth. Once completed, the transformed terminal complex will reinstate the coherent, spacious feeling of the original building and provide additional footprint for passenger facilities as a departures-only facility.
Updated technologies and more flexible facilities will be provided to meet the needs of such diverse growth. This includes a new Arrivals Terminal with dedicated immigration and reclaim facilities; the existing terminal reconfigured to a ‘shoreline’ check-in arrangement including extensive use of self-check-in and self-bag-drop technology; expanded and enhanced aviation security and redesigned passenger waiting; and an improved commercial and food and beverage offer.
The satellites and passenger connections to airside will also be progressively upgraded to connect all parts of the terminal complex. A new landscaped arrivals plaza will be created adjacent to the existing forecourt which will become a new focal point for arrivals into the UK.
Achieving this transformation within and around the boundaries of an existing operational terminal will be extremely challenging. The design team has worked with Stansted Airport to develop a number of strategies to provide the maximum benefit while minimizing disruption to passengers and airline operations.
Key to this is the delivery of the new Arrivals Terminal as quickly and cleanly as possible. The capacity provided by this new building allows further development to take place within the existing terminal, away from passenger operations, which maximized safety and minimizes disruption. New departures facilities can then be provided inside the existing terminal in a progressive and predictable fashion.
The concept of a standalone Arrivals Terminal will also allow the design team to maximize the environmental benefit of the new facility as opposed to extending the existing terminal.
Ramboll’s engineering design has been driven by improving the passenger experience and energy efficiency. Passive measures will be used to reduce the overall energy demand of the Arrivals Terminal, including the use of high-performance glazing and brise soleil to maximize natural daylight across the public areas while reducing solar gains. This also reduces the reliance on artificial lighting and gives passengers a more pleasant experience as they travel through the terminal.
For the ventilation systems, free cooling and heat recovery will be used throughout the new building to reduce the reliance on mechanical cooling. In addition, a new energy efficient centralized MEP plant will be provided for the Arrivals Terminal, which will be easily expandable in the future to enable the replacement of the ageing plant serving existing buildings. The Arrivals Terminal will achieve a BREEAM rating of Very Good as a minimum.
This philosophy has been considered in all areas including the structural design of the baggage reclaim area which has been designed to provide passengers with an unobstructed transition through the Arrivals Terminal.
Speed of delivery will be maximized due to the relatively unencumbered nature of the site and interfaces can be carefully managed. The construction method of the new building will be optimized for flexibility allowing a number of possible operational configurations within the same, regular footprint, providing long-term operational resilience and future opportunities to amend the layout to meet demand.
It will be as efficient as possible in construction and operation as well as an environmentally friendly airport building. The expanded terminal complex will respect the design of the original building and provide new facilities throughout. When completed, the airport will consolidate its position as London’s third airport and provide a new, improved experience for travelers to and from the UK.