Stansted Airport London, Essex Building, Architect

Stansted Airport Building London Terminal, Architects, Essex Architecture Image, Design

Stansted Airport London Building

Architecture in Essex, England, UK design by Foster + Partners Architects

post updated 15 Dec 2019

Stansted Airport Building

Date built: 1985-91

Architect: Norman Foster, Foster + Partners

Stansted Airport London

Location: Uttlesford District, Essex – northeast of London
Structural Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners
Approximate construction cost: £400m

Famous skylight designs – letting in daylight a radical step forward in airport design

Stansted Airport challenged all the rules of airport terminal design. It went back to the roots of modern air travel and literally stood conventional wisdom on its head, according to the architects.

Major cantilever and structural clusters form the technological aesthetic
Stansted Airport

The earliest airport buildings were very simple: on one side there was a road and on the other a field where aircraft landed into the wind. The route from landside to airside involved a walk from your car through the terminal and out to your plane, which was always in view. Stansted attempted to recapture the clarity of those early airfields, together with some of the lost romance of air travel.

Concourse once airy and calm is overflowing with people and shops
Stansted Airport Building

From the traveller’s point of view, movement through the building is straightforward and direct – there are none of the level changes and orientation problems that characterise most airports. Passengers progress in a fluid movement from the set-down point through to the check-in area, passport control and departure lounges, where they can see the planes. From there, an automated tracked transit system takes them to satellite buildings to board their aircraft.

West facade with metro
Stansted Airport London

This degree of clarity was achieved by turning the building ‘upside down’, banishing the heavy environmental services usually found at roof level to an undercroft that runs beneath the concourse. The undercroft also contains baggage handling and was able to accommodate a mainline railway station, which was integrated into the building late in the design process.

Internal photographs at night
Essex Terminal Building UK Essex Air Terminal Building England

Foster + Partners, Architects, London – designers of this famous English air terminal

Service distribution systems are contained within the ‘trunks’ of the structural ‘trees’ that rise from the undercroft through the concourse floor. These trees support a roof canopy that is freed simply to keep out the rain and let in light. Entirely daylit on all but the most overcast of days, the constantly changing play of light gives the concourse a poetic dimension and also has significant energy and economic advantages, leading to running costs that are half those of any other British terminal. Energy efficient, environmentally discreet within its rural setting, technologically advanced yet simple to use and experience, Stansted has become a model for airport planners and designers worldwide.

source: Stansted Airport Building by Foster + Partners

Stansted Airport Photos © Adrian Welch / Isabelle Lomholt

Location: Stansted, London, England, UK

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Key Norman Foster buildings in London

Albion Riverside, Wandsworth
Asprey, Bond St
British Museum Great Court
Faculty Building, Imperial College London
Foster and Partners Studio
ITN Headquarters
London Bridge City – More London
Millennium Bridge
Wembley Stadium Redevelopment

Selected architectural designs by Foster + Partners:

London Millennium Bridge
Millennium Bridge London
photograph © Nick Weall

Heathrow Airport Hotel
Heathrow Airport Hotel
image : Foster + Partners

London Airport Architecture

Heathrow Airport T5, west London, England, UK

Airport Architecture

Edinburgh Airport

Glasgow Airport

Barcelona Airport

Stansted Airport images available upon request: photos 1280×1024 pixels, 72dpi

Airport Buildings

Foster + Partners architects

London Skyscrapers

Chek Lap Kok Airport – design by Norman Foster

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