subscribe
free e-newsletter free e-newsletter
product info
advertise
FAQ
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
for premium web access
comment

Airports Eye Blast Protection Systems

August 28, 2007

by Albert Warson

A row of cement bollards blocking the main entrance to Glasgow’s international airport terminal prevented an explosives-packed vehicle from crashing into the building with disastrous consequences in June. Other airports have erected bollards or reinforced-concrete blast walls for the same reason. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, Kenya, is taking the strategy a step further.

Digital Water Pavilion
Image: Courtesy Queen’s Quay Architects International
Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

A row of cement bollards blocking the main entrance to Glasgow’s international airport terminal prevented an explosives-packed vehicle from crashing into the building with disastrous consequences in June. Other airports have erected bollards or reinforced-concrete blast walls for the same reason. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, Kenya, is taking the strategy a step further.

As part of $145 million in renovations, designed by a consortium led by Queen’s Quay Architects International, the airport is isolating all vehicular traffic from its three terminals. Blast barriers and shrapnel protectors, disguised as planters, will guide cars toward a remote facility where passengers will disembark and undergo security checks. “It’s probably going to be the only airport in the world that doesn’t allow cars to stop in front of the terminal,” says Peter Pascaris, a principal at Queen’s Quay.

Nairobi might seem an odd place for such a high level of protection, but recent terrorist incidents elsewhere in the world have overshadowed Kenya’s deadly past. More than 200 people died during bombings at the U.S. Embassy in 1998, and 13 people died in a hotel bombing four years later. “Nairobi is in a higher threat environment, and the focal point from day one was to make sure the terminal is as safe as possible, where protection is taken most seriously,” says Gordon Hamilton, managing director of Jacobs Consultancy Canada, an international airport consultant that is contributing to the Jomo Kenyata project.

While Nairobi is the first airport to keep cars completely away from its terminals, other airports worldwide are looking at ways to increase blast protection. In the United States, the Ted C. Connell Terminal Building, at Gray Army Airfield in Killeen, Texas, was the first to install a blast wall, packed with roughly 1,000 tons of structural steel and 9,500 cubic yards of concrete, in front of its entrances in response to security concerns after September 11, 2001. The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, as well as the Dane County Regional Airport, in Madison, Wisconsin, are following suit.

While these projects primarily pose security and engineering challenges, they do require architectural services as well. In Nairobi, for instance, the blast walls will be etched with African scenes. “There will be opportunities to improve security without creating the impression of building fortresses,” Hamilton says.

share: more »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
----- Advertising -----
Sweets, Search Building Products
Search
Reader Feedback
Most Commented Most Recommended
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days