“Competition among airlines is increasingly waged on the ground, especially in the Persian Gulf, where fast-growing airlines have been driving construction of airports that are creating new expectations for travelers.”
“The hope is to drive economic development by drawing traffic. Business travelers may spend hours at airports to eat, work, meet, sleep and even shower. For vacationers, the airport is an adventure—in shopping, relaxing and posing for pictures with landmark installations.”
HOK designed the 6.46 million-sq.-ft. Passenger Terminal Complex at Hamad International Airport, which opened April 30, 2014, to replace Doha International Airport.
“There’s a 25-meter-long swimming pool suspended over a concourse, a health spa and ceilings paneled with eucalyptus wood. Then there’s the 23-foot-tall, 20-ton bronze Urs Fischer sculpture of a yellow teddy bear with a lamp that once stood in front of New York’s Seagram Building.
“There’s a giant dinosaur robot to entertain children (and adults) and enclosed areas with beds to keep sleepy travelers from slumping and sprawling in corridors. Activity areas offer TV nooks, children’s toys and freely available Apple computers. Shopping ranges from Armani to Hermès to Tiffany.”
“The airport features high-tech security, customs and immigration equipment, including facial recognition and iris scanning. If a luggage scan produces something suspicious, a radio-frequency chip is attached to the bag so that it triggers an alarm when a passenger leaves baggage claim with it, alerting customs agents.”