Press Release

SOM’s New “Terminal in a Garden” Welcomes Global Travelers to Kempegowda International Airport

Kempegowda
Kempegowda

The new pre-certified LEED Platinum terminal radically reimagines the travel experience with a design inspired the “garden city” heritage of Bengaluru, India.

Today, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) announced that the new Terminal 2 at Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (BLR) is welcoming international passengers. 

Inspired by the city of Bengaluru’s reputation as “the garden city,” Terminal 2 is a serene multimodal transit hub that radically reimagines the airport experience. The 255,000-square-meter terminal, which increases the airport’s annual passenger capacity by 25 million, is a striking civic gateway that emphasizes Bengaluru’s rich culture and natural landscape. The new construction marks a transformative moment for one of India’s largest cities and establishes BLR Airport as one of the world’s premier airports.  

Ar. Ekansh Goel © Studio Recall

In the front of Terminal 2, a 123,000-square-meter multi-modal transit hub will serve as the nexus for the entire airport and a connector between BLR Airport and the city of Bengaluru. This upcoming T-shaped, two level space simplifies access to public transit and acts as an outdoor retail, event, and entertainment area for locals and travelers alike. From this transit hub, through the terminal entrance, and extending to the gates, passengers experience a series of spaces tied together by lush landscaping, both interior and exterior, overhead and sunken. The design establishes a new vision for sustainable growth, serving as an opportunity to revitalize Bengaluru’s sense of place. Terminal 2 serves as a new civic square for the city of Bengaluru, a gateway to BLR Airport’s international destinations, and a calming oasis within the bustle of an international airport.

“We are happy to announce that international operations have begun at Terminal 2 (T2) of Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru,” said Hari Marar, MD & CEO of Bangalore International Airport Ltd. “With this move, we are looking forward to serving passengers from different countries and destinations at the new state-of-the-art terminal. While our domestic operations are divided between T1 and T2, international operations will be exclusive to T2. We are committed to serving our passengers with the most innovative processes and customer service that will ease their journey, making it seamless and unforgettable.”

Ar. Ekansh Goel © Studio Recall

Conceived as a “terminal in a garden,” SOM’s design, in collaboration with landscape architects Grant Associates and designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla (AJSK), connects travelers to nature. The main terminal block, which houses check-in, immigration, security, retail, arrivals, and baggage claim, is separated from Terminal 2’s gates by a multilevel “forest belt,” a 90-meter-wide swath of lushly planted landscape, marked by indigenous flora, meandering paths, and multi-story pavilions clad in bamboo. For arriving and departing passengers alike, the network of bridges and outdoor pathways create an immersive and calming experience, juxtaposing the activity of an international airport. Throughout the terminal, a variety of hanging plantings and skylights complete the space with rich, sensory detail. The finishes emulate the textured local landscape with bamboo materials and custom furnishings clad in locally sourced ivory brown granite, umbered red bricks, and traditionally woven rattan. The garden design reminds travelers of the rich landscape scenery of the verdant city.

“For Terminal 2, SOM’s design inverts every expectation of how an airport can look and feel,” said Managing Partner Laura Ettelman. With a focus on the passenger, we have created a rich, sensory experience.”

Kempegowda
Ar. Ekansh Goel © Studio Recall

The terminal’s structural system and rectilinear form is designed to be efficient and sustainable, even allowing flexibility to accommodate changes over time, to support the continued growth of air travel in Bengaluru. T2 has been recognized as the largest terminal in the world to have been pre-certified as a LEED Platinum building by US Green Building Council (USGBC), prior to commencing operations. The terminal has also received the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Platinum certification for its sustainable architecture and design. In addition to the visible extensive outdoor areas, the terminal implements numerous sophisticated sustainable innovations, enabling the terminal to run entirely on renewable energy. The abundant vegetation uses water that is harvested on site and the indoor waterfalls cool the interior environment.      

“Right from the inception, the engineering was focused on reduced embodied carbon and designing a structure that maximizes the use of the material sourced and fabricated locally, making it a beacon of the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy,” said Structural Engineering Principal Preetam Biswas.

Kempegowda
Ar. Ekansh Goel © Studio Recall

All of the terminal gates are equipped to handle single wide-body aircraft for international flights or two narrow-body aircraft for domestic flights. The terminal provides 13 wide-body gates, which can alternate as 28 narrow-body aircraft gates, and expand to 20 wide-body gates in the future. This adaptable plan prevents gates from sitting idle for long periods, shielding the terminal from obsolescence. Now marking SOM’s second major airport terminal design in India—Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai was completed in 2014—Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru’s Terminal 2 is designed to thrive as an international travel hub well into the future. 

“Terminal 2 will stand apart from every other airport in the world,” said Design Principal Peter Lefkovits. “The orchestration of every component—both natural and man-made—creates a passenger experience that we hope will set a precedent for the future of airport design.”

Kempegowda
Ar. Ekansh Goel © Studio Recall