Less than five years after the opening of Georgia’s Kutaisi ‘King David the Builder’ International Airport, rapidly increasing usage (from 12,915 passengers a year in 2012 to more than 300,000 in 2016) has prompted the airport to begin plans for an expansion that could serve as many as 1,000,000 passengers by 2020. To achieve these goals, the airport has returned to the architects who designed the original structure, UNStudio (with local architects Artstudio Project), to develop a unique airport concept featuring terraced waiting areas and a rooftop viewing garden. The terminal extension will continue the linear design language of the existing building, while introducing a new topological element that references the lines of the Caucasus Mountains that can be seen on the horizon. In order to preserve visual connection and circulatory flow throughout the airport, UNStudio and airport consultant IATA located key programmatic functions within five clear ‘functional islands’: the Departure hall, Security area, Central passenger hall, Back of house offices and Arrival hall.
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