The New THESSALONIKI Airport MAKEDONIA (SKG)
( source: kathimerini.gr ) 18.03.2021
Welcome to Thessaloniki – a visit to the new airport of Thessaloniki: MAKEDONIA SKG
The renewed, heavily transformed, new Airport of Thessaloniki (“Macedonia” SKG), where modern design meets functionality.
Airports are the first, big step of every escape and every return. The architects Loukas and Theofanis Bobotis of Bobotis+Bobotis architects tried to convey exactly this charm by designing the new “Macedonia” airport in Thessaloniki. “Macedonia” was one of the 14 regional airports that Fraport Greece upgraded, investing a total of 440 million euros. A quarter of this amount was given exclusively for the upgrade and expansion of the Thessaloniki airport, which was also the largest project of the investment program.
After four years of studies and intensive work, the new “Macedonia” was delivered in February 2021, modernized, smarter and twice the size. “Our aim was to create an atmosphere and an environment where the flight transforms into an exceptional, interesting travel experience, beyond a simple and dry process of ‘get in, check in and travel'”, describes Theofanis Bobotis.
The modern terminal
The crown of this effort is the new terminal. Entering the airport area, the traveler now faces an impressive, modern construction, which is distinguished by its simple, Doric line and the sense of perpetual movement, which its shape and volumes give it. The facades of the airport are characterized by the diamond-shaped canvas of the glass curtain, specially designed to prevent the entry of solar radiation and at the same time to allow visibility and views from the interior to the outside. The departure gates are covered by dark multi-prismatic shells, which protect travelers from the weather.
Loukas Bobotis states that the identity of the building is complemented by its curved roof, which artfully covers the mechanical facilities of the airport and creates an interesting fifth aspect, which the traveler from the air will enjoy.
The old and new airport buildings are connected by two impressive flyovers.
The challenge for the architects was to manage to combine in the same space the old and the new airport building, which represent two completely different eras of architectural design. Bobotis+Bobotis architects chose to design the new building in such a way as to respond to today’s perception and at the same time to functionally reform the existing one. The buildings were joined by two flyovers, which also symbolically constitute the transition from the modern to the earlier. For the visitor, the bridges are also a part of the experience, as the first, with a view of the “earth”, external side of the airport, leads him to the controls, while the second gradually introduces him to the waiting of the journey, offering him along the way the magical view of the runways.
An airport that reduces stress
The works also dramatically changed the interior of the airport, which has become more modern and functional. As the architects note, the traveler is always at the center of his design. “An important issue in the design of airports, to which we also gave special weight, is the reduction of the traveler’s stress, caused by the successive checks of documents, tickets and baggage. When the time of checks is reduced, the stress they cause is also reduced,” they report. Based on this thought, in “Macedonia” the control gates were more than doubled, the check-in points increased by 45% and the 16 departure gates became 24.
Departure gates at the airport increased from 16 to 24. The renewed “Macedonia” combines modern architecture with safety and functionality and is twice the size of the previous one. At the same time, new catering and shopping outlets were added. “The modern perception gives great importance to the positioning of the various uses within the airport. The traveler should have the feeling of being in a familiar environment, like in a structured city fabric, where he can do his shopping, which is surrounded by dining areas and bars,” explain the architects. In the new “Macedonia”, these uses are “entangled” next to each other, so that no part of the airport remains one-dimensional. Instead, the traveler can buy a souvenir and very quickly find himself in a pleasant place to enjoy his coffee, without having to cross endless corridors.
(Photos: ALEXANDROS AVRAMIDIS)