CAD domes and Englishmen

Foster+Partners’ recently-opened 103,000m2 Queen Alia International Airport looked to nomadic Bedouin architecture for design inspiration – when approaching by air, the roof apparently resembles the flowing fabric of a tent, the form of its shallow domes generated by the firm’s advanced geometry team. However, the only time the fabric of this airport was really flowing was when they were casting it in place. Its elegant domes and supporting structure are concrete, its high thermal mass enabling passive environmental control in the searingly hot clime. Where these shallow shells meet, light filters in softly. To help the thermal mass do its job an unobtrusive ceiling system was needed. SAS International designed and supplied 12,000m2 of its curved linear metal ceiling system Tubeline and 4,000m2 of bespoke triangular ceiling panels. The result is a ceiling that’s a thin, translucent gauze for the solid structure beyond. Very dance of the seven veils.