Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport – Terminal 2 design by SOM






















Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Location: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM), Mumbai, India
Design Partner: Roger Duffy
Senior Design Architect: Scott Duncan
Design Architect : Peter Lefkovits
Technical Architect: Narin Gobindranauth
Senior Aviation Planner: Derek Moore
Year: 2014
Photographs: Robert Polidori, SOM
Managing Partner: Anthony Vacchione
Structural Director: Charles Besjak
Structural Engineer: Preetam Biswas
Structural Engineering: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Project Manager, Director: Laura Ettelman
Architect And Engineer Of Record: Larsen & Toubro Limited
Mep Engineer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Lighting Design: Brandston Partnership Inc.
Acoustics: Cerami & Associates
Communication, It, Security & Special Sustems: Mulvey & Banani
Signage & Wayfinding: Pentagram & Entro Communication
Baggage Handling: BNP Associates
Verical Transportation: Van Deusen & Associates
Cultural Design Collaboration: Abu Jani – Sandeep Khosla
Client: GVK, Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd.


Ten years ago, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport welcomed six million passengers per year through its gates; today it serves nearly five times that number. With the city’s emergence as India’s financial capital and the country’s rapidly expanding and economically mobile middle class, the existing airport infrastructure proved unable to support the growing volume of domestic and global traffic, resulting in frequent delays. By orchestrating the complex web of passengers and planes into a design that feels intuitive and responds to the region’s rocketing growth, the new Terminal 2 asserts the airport’s place as a preeminent gateway to India.

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2 adds 4.4 million square feet of new space to accommodate 40 million passengers per year, operating 24 hours a day. The terminal combines international and domestic passenger services under one roof, optimizing terminal operations and reducing passenger walking distances. Inspired by the form of traditional Indian pavilions, the new four-story terminal stacks a grand “headhouse,” or central processing podium, on top of highly adaptable and modular concourses below. Rather than compartmentalizing terminal functions, all concourses radiate outwards from a central processing core and are therefore easily reconfigured to “swing” between serving domestic flights or international flights.

But just as the terminal celebrates a new global, high-tech identity for Mumbai, the structure is imbued with responses to the local setting, history, and culture. Gracious curbside drop-off zones designed for large parties of accompanying well-wishers accommodate traditional Indian arrival and departure ceremonies. Regional patterns and textures are subtly integrated into the terminal’s architecture at all scales. From the articulated coffered treatment on the headhouse columns and roof surfaces to the intricate jali window screens that filter dappled light into the concourses, Terminal 2 demonstrates the potential for a modern airport to view tradition anew.

The prominent location of the airport within the city of Mumbai bestows it with a strong presence within a portion of the city that is experiencing rapid growth and redevelopment. Terminal 2 is a significant part of this renaissance as an infrastructural anchor for the neighborhood, and as a landmark within the surrounding community. By integrating into the existing transportation fabric and by furthering connectivity through the simultaneous development of a new road network to service the airport, the terminal helps knit together the historic heart of Mumbai to the south with the city’s burgeoning peripheries to the east and north. Plans are also in place for the construction of an underground metro station at the terminal’s entrance, providing further connectivity to the growing city.

A Gateway to India

All international and domestic passengers enter the terminal headhouse on the fourth floor, accessed from a sweeping elevated road. At the entrance, the lanes split, making room for wide drop-off curbs with ample space for departure rituals. From the moment of arrival, the terminal embraces travelers. Above, the headhouse roof extends to cover the entire arrivals roadway, protecting passengers and their guests from Mumbai’s heat and unpredictable monsoon weather. A 50-foot-tall glass cable-stayed wall—the longest in the world—opens to the soaring space of the check-in hall. The transparent facade also allows accompanying well-wishers, who must remain outside of the terminal due to Indian aviation regulations, to watch as their friends and family depart.

Once inside, travelers enter a warm, light-filled chamber, sheltered underneath a long-span roof supported by an array of multi-story columns. The monumental spaces created beneath the thirty mushrooming columns call to mind the airy pavilions and interior courtyards of traditional regional architecture. Small disks of colorful glass recessed within the canopy’s coffers speckle the hall below with light. The constellation of colors makes reference to the peacock, the national bird of India, and the symbol of the airport.

The check-in hall leads to a retail hub—a common space that allows passengers to shop, eat, and watch planes take off though expansive, floor-to- ceiling windows. Centrally located at the junction of the concourses and the terminal core, these commercial plazas provide a focal point of activity in close proximity to the gates. Within these spaces and throughout the concourses, culturally referential fixtures and details, such as custom chandeliers inspired by the lotus flower and traditional mirror mosaic work created by local artists, ground the traveler to a community and culture beyond the airport. Regional artwork and artifacts are displayed on a central, multi-story Art Wall, illuminated by skylights above. The prevalence of local art and culture, coupled with the use of warm colors and elegant accents, elevates the ambience of terminal beyond the typical, often unimaginative airport experience.

Although the terminal is four stories, interconnecting light slots and multi-story light wells ensure that light penetrates into the lower floors of the building, acting as a constant reminder of the surrounding city and landscape. At dusk, illuminated from within, the terminal glows like a sculpted chandelier.

A Flexible Footprint

The construction site of the new terminal building was located in close proximity to the existing terminal which had to remain fully operational during construction. This site requirement inspired the elongated X-shape plan of the terminal, which could both mold around existing structures and incorporate modular designs to accommodate rapid and phased construction.

This innovative form also allows for the consolidation of important passenger processing, baggage handling, and retail/dining functions at the center of the terminal. On each floor, radiating piers permit the shortest possible walking distances from the center of the terminal to boarding areas, while also maximizing the terminal’s perimeter for aircraft gates.


Source: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
m i l i m e t d e s i g n – W h e r e   t h e   c o n v e r g e n c e   o f   u n i q u e   c r e a t i v e s