Clark International Airport is a finalist in architecture awards

THE CLARK International Airport has been named as one of the finalists in the 2021 World Selection of the Prix Versailles Architecture and Design Awards under the Airport Category.

Finalists of the Prix Versailles are chosen for their innovative design and connection to their local area’s culture and heritage.

“The World Selections pay tribute to the qualities of innovation, creativity, reflection of local, natural and cultural heritage, and ecological efficiency, as well as the values of social interaction and participation which the United Nations holds in high regard,” stated a press release in July 2021 from the Prix Versailles.

According to the Prix Versailles website, the program aims “to foster better interaction between the economy and culture” and gives attention to how “economic agents can play, in all sectors, to enhance, embellish and improve living environments.”

Luzon International Premiere Airport Development Corp. (LIPAD) is the private sector consortium in charge of the airport’s operations and maintenance which assumed operations of the facility in Aug. 2019.

“This distinction is very timely because it comes at a time when… we Filipinos are in great anticipation of better times and hopefully, the decline of the pandemic. We hope that through this new terminal building we can help uplift the mood of our countrymen, and soon when travel is relaxed, Clark International Airport will be there to delight passengers and [serve] as a fitting testament to Philippine capacities,” Bi Yong Chungunco, CEO of LIPAD, said at an online press conference on Aug. 26 via Zoom.

LIPAD worked with the international architecture and interior design firm Populous for the new terminal’s interior design.

“We brought our global expertise and quality to Clark. Populous drew inspiration for the terminal from Pampanga’s stunning natural beauty to select a material palette which reflects the local areas’ vibrancy. We have sought to avoid the neutral page palettes of many airports around the world, and instead create a strong sense of place. One that nods to the natural and cultural heritage of the area,” Populous architect Ben Dawson said.

“At the same time, we believe there is a subtlety to the design. We aim to showcase the open ceiling and the incredible views outside rather than compete against them for attention. Passenger experience was at the heart of this design, and we believe the Philippines can be proud of Clark airport as a vibrant gateway to the country,” he added.

The terminal features include a dedicated OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) lounge, walk-through commercial spaces, gender-neutral toilets, and elevators and escalators at each boarding gate.

“We also incorporated the latest in technology. These would include automated self-bagging drops, self-checking kiosks, e-gates at the immigration areas, and generous spaces for retail and F&B (food and beverage),” Mr. Dawson said about additional key considerations to the terminal’s design.

The four-level terminal is in a 110,000 square meter area and has the capacity to accommodate eight million passengers annually.

Alongside the Clark International Airport, other international airports selected to compete in the Prix Versaille World Finale are the Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (Germany), the Athens International Airport (Greece), the South Wing Hazrat Sultan International Airport (Kazakhstan), the New Plymouth Airport (New Zealand), and LaGuardia Airport, Terminal B (New York).

The winners in the category will be announced at the World Awards Ceremony at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in late November or early December this year.  — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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