Terminal For Stansted Airport

(Stansted. England) 1981-91

Stansted air terminal is unique in having a single internal space 15 metres high and 198 x 162 square metres in surface, with totally transparent walls of glazing. The structure is made of white steel shells floating on top of 36 steel pylons whose spokes open to support the delicate grilles of the curved roof.

Jacques Ferrier. an employee of Foster Associates, has described the construction process In some detail. Various aspects were resolved by several weeks of simulation with a full-sized prototype by Tubeworkers of Clave-don. designed by Ove Arup & Partners. According to Ferrier. the umbrella solution allows a reduction in the span of the roof beam from 36 to 18 metres because of the 45 degree slope of the spokes. The spokes are pre-stressed and each umbrella has its own internal bracing which enables the spokes to remain in tension. Computer calculations were performed to verify the efficiency of the vertical load transfer. The shaft of the umbrellas (17 x 3.5 x 3.5 metres) also took this constraint into account. Ferrier describes how each spoke was positioned separately and held by temporary cables. Once four spokes were in place and held by the four beams, the eight final cables were fixed at the summit of the pylon and placed in tension. The central bolt, which Ferrier says is the largest ever made in Great Britain, is called a 'Jesus bolt'; it is the key to the stressed node and tightened to 80 tons. The canopy supported by the umbrellas consists of 121 roof panels, each weighing 11 tons.

Foster's design for the terminal was grounded in his perception that the traveller, in other, more conventional airports, has become 'the victim of a complex check-in process, whose most important functions are assumed by the airport building. It is here that the passenger is managed and guided through in

(Left) Exterior vl«w

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