The president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, announced today that Foster + Partners, FR-EE (Fernando Romero Enterprise), and NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants) have won an international competition to design a new international airport for Mexico City. The airport masterplan covers an area of 4,800 hectares (18.5 square miles), with a single, 470,000-square-meter (5,059,038-square foot) terminal building. The winning proposal calls for a pre-fabricated steel and concrete structure, clad in glass and painted aluminum panels, with materials sourced locally and sustainably where possible. A lightweight gridded shell encloses the whole terminal under one sweeping roof with a maximum internal span of 170 meters (558 feet).

Mexico City International Airport
Courtesy Foster + Partners Mexico City International Airport


Designed to meet LEED Platinum standards, the terminal will capitalize on Mexico City’s dry, temperate climate by using displacement ventilation and outside air to maintain comfortable interior temperatures. The single-building model allows a reduction in energy consumption over a multiple-terminal model, according to the architects, and aims to improve passenger experiences through shorter walking distances within a more easily navigable terminal.

Interior rendering of Mexico City International Airport.
Courtesy Foster + Partners | Image by DBOX Interior rendering of Mexico City International Airport.


“Stansted Airport’s reinvention of the conventional terminal in the 1990s was emulated worldwide,” founder Norman Foster, Hon. FAIA, said in a release of the terminal his firm designed in London. “This breaks with that model for the first time. It pioneers a new concept for a large-span, single airport enclosure, which will achieve new levels of efficiency and flexibility—and it will be beautiful.”

Interior rendering of Mexico City International Airport.
Courtesy Foster + Partners | Image by DBOX Interior rendering of Mexico City International Airport.


The announcement follows the day after Foster released an indictment of London’s Heathrow Airports Commission, which failed to recognize a bid by Foster + Partners to develop the Thames Estuary into a new four-runway hub airport. In that release, Foster said, “The pattern of the most competitive emerging economies is to replace the old and obsolescent and go boldly forward with the new, an opportunity today's decision denies this country. The outcome of this process calls into question the validity of the Commission.”