Foster + Partners showcases the impressive strides made in completing the new Techo International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With a strategic vision to position the airport as a cornerstone in Cambodia’s tourism and economic landscape, the architecture firm’s design stands out as a pivotal addition to the country’s infrastructure. Situated 20 km south of Phnom Penh, the airport boasts a modular construction designed for expansion and growth.
The initial phase of the airport terminal encompasses the central headhouse and aerofoil wings to the north, equipped to handle a capacity of up to 13 million passengers annually. Further development phases focus on the construction of the second aerofoil wing, intended to accommodate a staggering 30 million passengers. Stefan Behling, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, underscores the airport’s pivotal role in Phnom Penh’s continuous development, set to become the nation’s primary inter-regional and inter-modal transport hub.
The design narrative for the Techo International Airport draws inspiration from Cambodia itself, recognised as one of the oldest civilisations on Earth. Mindful of the tropical climate, the terminal’s design centres around a central headhouse complemented by two aerofoil-shaped piers. This innovative structure houses all aspects of passenger processing, including security, immigration, and retail stores, under a single expansive canopy roof that extends to the airside drop-off, providing ample shelter.
Despite its initial wooden appearance, the canopying roof is a testament to engineering brilliance, employing a lightweight steel grid shell construction. Supported by structural trees spanning an impressive 36 m, this design allows filtered daylight to illuminate the terminal, creating a well-lit and inviting space. To further enhance the ambience, varnishing and colouring will soon be applied to match a warm wooden palette, evoking a welcoming atmosphere that resonates with other light-coloured interior materials, and infusing a contemporary essence while honouring Cambodian visual heritage.
The Foster + Partners-designed Techo International Airport places technology at its core, striving to become one of the world’s most environmentally conscious airports. The ambitious aim is to power nearly the entire terminal through energy generated by an onsite solar panel farm. Rows of photovoltaic panels will harness and generate the electricity necessary for the airport’s seamless operations.
Beyond its sustainable infrastructure, the airport design also embraces local craftsmanship and natural aesthetics. The incorporation of greenery, showcased in the provided visuals, includes mature trees rising through the central area and edge planting to soften the interior spaces, creating a harmonious blend of modernity and nature within the terminal’s confines.