It appears that the so-called non-places — to use the term coined by Marc Augé — have evolved and are no longer a mere negation of places, something that exists as a result of subtraction. Large shopping centres, industrial areas, multiplex cinemas and airports are becoming the new gateways to our cities, an opportunity to rethink the design of our landscape.
Airports, like the new terminal in Olbia, can therefore acquire a historic identity over time and develop into meeting and socialisation places with their own individuality and symbolism. Consequently, they can become generators of places, utopian locations that can once and for all refute the accusation of being unresolved spaces.
The New General Aviation Terminal at Olbia airport combines the typical functions of an air terminal with the sophistication of a showcase building and the elegance of an exclusive club. It has original and harmonious architecture that integrates well with the surrounding area, largely thanks to the use of local materials and typical Sardinian vegetation.
The work of expanding and remodelling the old buildings began in the year 2000 on the basis of a project by architect Willem Brouwer and the technical firm Geogramma.
The airport was expanded by the design group ERREGI, DL2A and Archigroup — reaching 42,000 square metres, three times the surface area of the old structure — and opened on 27 June 2009. It has 40 check-in desks, 15 gates, 5 pier fingers and a 2,200 square metre shopping centre with shops and services and is designed to handle 4.5 million passengers a year.
The architecture is sleek and modern, with particular attention to harmonious integration between the structure and the Sardinian landscape (the environmental integration and impact project was conducted by Archigroup) in order to draw maximum benefit from the unique features of the area and to offer passengers and visitors the greatest comfort during the time they spend waiting.
The structure is on three levels: a ground floor of 2,000 square metres housing offices and work spaces, waiting areas for passengers and crew, cafés and retail spaces; a 1,100 square metre first floor with a lounge for crews and additional services (including a wellness centre, a restaurant, a business centre, a new museum, wi-fi connections, meeting rooms, and a service for booking cars, hotels, limousines and helicopters); a 2,200 square metre underground level used for changing rooms and facilities for personnel, technological areas, storerooms and various workshops. The new facility has a separate building for ceremonies and for hosting dignitaries and heads of state.
The choice of floor and wall tiles fell on the Habita series from Cercom, a member of the Serenissima Cir Industrie Ceramiche Group. The outer cladding consists of San Giacomo granite extracted in local quarries, which was chosen from a number of proposals on the basis of aesthetics, quality and above all origin in order to make the greatest possible use of local economic resources.
Porcelain tile was chosen because it is a material with high aesthetic and technical quality, making it particularly suitable for use in high-traffic areas while being environmentally friendly due to the exclusive use of certified products.