Airport in Gelendzhik

Architecture: Fuksas
General Contractor: Acons Group
Photo: Кирилл Горожанин

Let’s Fly
We have already discussed the theme of the rapid development of Russia’s tourism sector, highlighting one of the cornerstone issues — the complete lack of transportation infrastructure. Surprisingly, this issue affects not only remote areas but also popular tourist destinations.

Recently, I had a spontaneous conversation with Anna Rozanova, a representative of the Acons Group, during which I learned about the epic project of the new airport in Gelendzhik.

In just a couple of days, having coordinated with the general contractor the possibility of discussing this unique facility, I hopped on a plane to shoot material from the construction site. I invite you to read and see what came out of it.
A Feat of Engineering
Let’s start with the fact that not everyone knows about the existence of a functioning airport in Gelendzhik. The old aviation hub is a Soviet-era box that brings a smile to one’s face. However, it’s important to mention the incredibly scenic runway at the airport, which starts right at the shoreline and runs parallel to a golf course. This runway will be inherited by the new airport, which is designed to handle a passenger flow of 1 million people per year. This will help alleviate some of the tourist traffic from Adler and become a key factor in the development of the Novorossiysk direction.

The first thing that catches your eye is the shape of the building. According to one version, it was inspired by the flight of birds. Indeed, the parametric roof juts out in four places and is supported by very unusual columns, which we will discuss in a moment. The airport’s construction is a matter of pride for architects and engineers who developed and implemented this project. It’s essential to note that Gelendzhik airport is located in a seismically active zone (designed to withstand an 8-point earthquake). Consequently, the complexity of all construction and design work increased significantly compared to regular civil construction.

The main roof block, weighing 1000 tons, consists of a concrete pad, 9 internal, and 4 external parametric columns. Special attention should be paid to the latter, as the roof’s structure smoothly transitions into the shape of the external columns. It looks quite futuristic. This is not a unique solution (for example, Dynamo Stadium in Moscow), but its application for an airport is unique. The structure consists of solid steel balls connected by beams, creating an intricate shape. The entire structure stands on movable mechanical platforms, allowing movement within a 25 cm range. It’s crucial to note that the construction did not allow for "adjustments" on site, and considering the uniqueness of each element’s threading angles, it’s hard to imagine the precision with which CNC machines manufactured these details.

One interesting aspect I’d like to highlight is the aluminum panels for interior pavilions. They are a "sandwich" of perforated aluminum sheets (similar to air hockey tables), with sound-absorbing insulation inside. When passing by a pavilion clad in this material, I was asked to approach the wall and listen closely (while they smiled mysteriously). It feels like you’re smoothly turning on active noise cancellation in your headphones. Some kind of magic!

Other "highlights" of the project will be shared by the airport’s PR service in their Telegram account, here’s the link.
Parametric Architecture
The concept of architecture has already been mentioned at the beginning of the article, now I would like to say a few words about the interior. A source of pride for everyone involved in this project is the inner surface of the roof. It resembles sea waves. Assembled from thousands of hanging triangular polygons, it also incorporates another important functional solution. The interior part of almost half of these particles contains niches where LED lighting is installed. This allows not just to illuminate the entire interior space but also to create various scenarios using color — an endless field for creativity.

At some point, I drew a comparison between Gelendzhik Airport and Barajas Airport in Madrid. Gelendzhik and Madrid, do you feel the difference? But you shouldn’t! Once, a client of School 800 in Nizhny Novgorod, in response to my reasonable question about why an 'Apple campus' is being built in an area where the best entertainment is going for alcohol, said that to change the environment for the better, one must create conditions. An example like Gelendzhik Airport is precisely such a condition. Bright and significant!
The completion of the construction work is scheduled for December 2021. Wishing the entire team a successful on-time completion! With that, I conclude and invite you to enjoy the photographs of this amazing project.
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