RIBA STIRLING PRIZE WINNERS

Madrid Barajas Airport (2006)

Type

Airports and aviation

Built

2005

Location

The building of Barajas Airport presents a straightforward linear diagram, in the form of a clear sequence of spectacular spaces for both departing and arriving passengers.

The parallel linear floor planes are separated from each other by dramatic, light-filled canyons across which bridges span. What impresses is not just the 1.2 km-long terminal and associated 1 km-long satellite, linked by underground train and handling up to 35 million passengers annually, but also the neat industrial aesthetic of the car park with its 9,000 spaces, and the integrated train and metro station in its cathedral-like housing.

Graduated colour is used for wayfinding – your boarding pass is marked with a colour and your route is instantly apparent as red gives way toorange, orange to yellow, yellow to green and green to blue. This device is carried through to the external structure, giving the whole building a joyful exuberance.

A restrained and functional approach was consistently taken throughout to great effect, resulting in a visually clean, remarkably uncluttered and soothing environment.After six years of construction, the complex doubled the capacity of the existing airport and also rapidly established Madrid as the gateway between South America and Europe, making the city a southern European hub to rival the north European hubs of Heathrow and Amsterdam.

Architect: Richard Rogers Partnership  

Location details


Madrid-Barajas Airport can be found 9 km (5.6 mi) from the city’s financial district and 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of the Puerta del Sol, Madrid’s historic centre.

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