Woods Bagot T1 Domestic Terminal sets new benchmarks in global aviation design

The opening of Perth Airport’s T1 Domestic Terminal for Virgin represents the next phase of Perth airport’s expansion program that commenced in 2009. With a vision of providing facilities for up to 40 million passengers annually by 2040, it is a landmark project in Australian aviation and is setting a new benchmark in global aviation design.

Right from the start the Woods Bagot team tasked with providing lead designer services from concept to completion had a clear ambition in mind for the terminal.

As Director of Aviation and Transport James Berry explained it was about creating an extraordinary passenger environment for the people of Perth that celebrated the romance of air travel and provided a positive and memorable experience for everyone including passengers, staff and visitors. He said:

“The space takes advantage of the extraordinary Western Australian blue skies to provide a real ‘sense of place’ flooded with light and making the most of the great views towards the city.”

The Terminal 1 Domestic Terminal and international expansion work included providing two A380 swing gates, additional space for the international departures lounge and extending the terminal building to provide complete terminal facilities for Virgin Australia’s operations at Perth Airport.

The expanded terminal is unprecedented in Western Australia as it incorporates four distinct security zones, two separate passenger experiences, flexible multi-aircraft stands and swing gates which will see the number of passengers boarding more than quadruple.

It has a civic quality in terms of scale and yet is simple to use, ordered, and stress free – a light filled space with intuitive way finding and convenience.

Whilst the most prominent element of the Departures project is the new Domestic Terminal for Virgin Australia, a significant element of the work has been within the existing terminal building, including building a new two storey structure over the existing, and ‘live’ baggage make-up hall, according to Woods Bagot Senior Associate Patric Przeradzki:

“As the height available within the baggage hall is limited the coordination of lift and escalator pits with the baggage screening system was complex. The baggage system itself has been greatly expanded ‘in-situ’ as part of the works.”

One of Woods Bagot’s main goals was to ensure that the passenger route from check-in to the plane was as calm and intuitive as possible and visual clutter and the reliance on signage was reduced.

Services, displays and lights have, where possible, been integrated into the building envelope. All gate lounges benefit from generous ceiling heights, access to daylight and views of the airfield.

Specialist lighting further supports the calming environment by assisting with intuitive way finding on arrivals and departures as well as utilising colour and light temperature to create a relaxing ambience.

The naturally lit double height international departures lounge, which links directly with the Emirates lounge, will be used for the boarding of the A380. It is spacious and features comfortable sofas and armchairs for passengers to wait for the boarding call in comfort.

All fixed links connecting to the nodes are glazed vertically to provide views of the aircraft when boarding and views of the new Terminal when arriving. Providing glimpses of the aircraft and the terminal will again re-assure passengers and assist with a more intuitive journey to the plane or to the baggage reclaim areas.

The roof of the Terminal, using a single curved geometry, is reminiscent of the aircraft forms. The overhanging eaves, with its rounded roof edges, also takes its cue from the wings and aero foil shapes. The singular roof and building design is also intentionally directional in the outward movement of travel, making way-finding for travellers intuitive, and culminating with a dynamic 15m cantilevered roof end, as a tribute to flight and ‘taking –off’.

The roof build-up was designed to meet the rigorous thermal, acoustics and weather performance requirements, utilising a double-deck methodology not typically used in Australia, which allowed for speed of installation and provided protected area for work to commence below. The coordination of services was also carried out to conceal all rooftop services in roof wells in order to keep the form of the roof as uninterrupted as possible.

Woods Bagot Senior Associate Patric Przeradzki said:

“The Terminal 1 Domestic Terminal when allied with the adjacent T2 project are both ground-breaking and significant pieces of work to be undertaken at Perth Airport for many years. This is not only because of what these projects will achieve for the airport, but also due to the scale and cost of works.”