The Mexican capital is revamping its international airport, with a new terminal designed by star architect Norman Foster that will double capacity, save energy and dazzle the eyes.
The terminal is expected to be in use by 2020 and serve some 50 million passengers a year, twice the number that use the current airport. Its signature features include a solar roof for the entire structure, which will partly power the terminal and save energy by maximizing penetration of natural light.
The terminal will also seek solutions for the supply and consumption of water, a key issue in parched central Mexico. It will capture and recycle rain water for use by travelers, and thus "diversify" supplies to reduce use of bottled water, cutting plastic waste. While rain drenches Mexico City during June and July, most of the water is wasted and central Mexico faces endemic water shortage.
The airport's design anticipates the trend in efficient water use. In seeking to avoid bottled water it is also helping to confront another problem of this megalopolis of 20 million residents — massive use of plastic and the logistical problems of recycling. Very few people drink the city's tap water even though it is potable.
The building's X-shaped design is also touted as saving human energy. The architects have envisaged equidistant departure gates to reduce time needed to reach them and use of motorized transport in the building. Construction is to begin in 2015 and set to conclude in 2018; costs are expected to hover between $9 billion and $13 billion.