Glass, metal and Italian ceramics
Kincl Arhitekti - Neidhardt Arhitekti - Institut IGH
The new passenger terminal at Franjo Tuđman International Airport, Croatia’s most important airport located 10 km south of the capital Zagreb, came into operation in March 2017 following a project to modernise the original terminal built in the early 1960s. It is a contemporary building with a bright, shimmering envelope designed by a Croatian design group consisting of the two architectural practices Kincl Arhitekti and Neidhardt Arhitekti and the engineering firm Institut IGH, winners of an international design competition launched in 2008 which attracted entries from leading names in the world of international architecture, including Pritzker Prize laureates Shigeru Ban (second), Norman Foster (third) and the late Zaha Hadid (fifth).
The project, which is also the largest infrastructure work to have been carried out in the country in the last 10 years, aims to cope with the steady growth in numbers of passengers and is part of the medium-term national strategy of boosting Croatia’s tourist industry and building up the country’s credentials as a major Southeast European international passenger hub, a strategy that has also involved significant investments in Split and Dubrovnik airports.
The design group’s project for the new terminal consisted of two communicating blocks enclosed in a structural glass and aluminium envelope defined by complex continuous and undulating volumes. With its light, ethereal aesthetics inspired by the crests of the nearby Mount Medvednica, this iconic building marks the first step in a future project to create a tertiary and service hub called Airport City.The main block occupies an almost square area of 137.5 x 131.1 m with an internal height of between 20 m and 34 m, while the second is a pier extending parallel to the runways with 8 air-bridges, waiting areas and a shopping arcade. The airport functions are organised on four levels: the arrivals area with baggage reclaim and inbound passport control on the lower two levels, and the departures area with check-in and security on the upper two levels.
The brightly-lit interior has a simple and functional layout and cool colours ranging from white to multiple shades of grey. The large, transparent surfaces look out strategically onto the landscape and allow plenty of natural light to flood in during the day while connecting seamlessly with the dynamic aluminium panelled roof.
The envelope consists of a complex, exposed white spatial reticular structure consisting of 26,000 steel tubes held together by 6,100 nodes and supported by 18 columns.
The extensive floor coverings are an important feature of the interior spaces. To withstand the footfall of the millions of passengers passing through the terminal each year, they must be durable and functional but without sacrificing aesthetics. As a counterpoint to the large roof structure, the architects installed 30,000 square metres of 10.5 mm thick extra-large slabs from Imola Ceramica’s Micron 2.0 collection, the ideal choice for a project that is deeply symbolic of the country’s future growth.
ImolaCeramica, Micron 2.0
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤0,1
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): LA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): < 140mm³
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ˃ 45N/mm²
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant