The opening of Terminal 1 at the Barcelona Airport solidified Barcelona’s position as one of Europe’s top ten airports. RBTA designed a sleek sword-shaped structure that is flooded by natural light through its floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Some 100,000 passengers a day pass through the 5.8 million square-foot terminal, which is expected to welcome very soon 55 million per annum.
Situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the existing Terminal 2, completed by RBTA in 1992 for the Barcelona Olympic Games, T1 was conceived as a singular dynamic space under a huge vibrant roof; one space divided into two main areas, the processor and the piers. The main hall processor, under the wing-like roof, receives enormous light via its linear skylights. The 700 m long central pier and the side piers suggest the shape of an aircraft.
The new terminal functions as a communications gateway, linking Barcelona with the rest of Europe. T1 seeks to foster connections and traffic and to improve airport accessibility through different forms of transport (high-speed train, local trains and the future extension of Barcelona underground). It can accommodate an annual turnover of 25 million passengers, twice that of all present terminals combined. The building comprises of two main blocks under the same roof. One up to 500 meters wide, set aside for check-in, security and baggage collection. This section connects passengers to the different forms of transport. The other 700 meters long section accommodates the boarding lounges, waiting and shopping areas. The transparency of the building provides panoramic views of the runways, sea and greenery, while flooding the passenger reserved areas with natural light.
Photo credits: Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura