Israel has opened its first commercial greenfield gateway, Ilan and Asaf Ramon International Airport (Ramon Airport), located 18 kilometres north of the Red Sea resort city of Eilat.
Commissioned by the Isreal Airport Authority (IAA) and designed by a team led by Mann-Shinar Architects and Moshe Zur Architects, the new airport will replace the existing downtown gateway in Eilat.
According to the design team, the airport features a minimalist and futuristic design and is located on a 1,250 acres in the Negev Desert.
The architects served as project planning managers, leading more than 45 consulting firms, nearly all local Israeli engineers, alongside ARUP London's aviation team.
It is widely believed that the new airport will become a major game changer for the region's local and international tourism to Israel, Jordan and Egypt's Sinai Desert.
Its facilities include a 50,000sqm passenger terminal building, a 3,600 metre long runway and taxiway, along with forty aprons, that will allowing for domestic and international traffic.
The two support structures surrounding the terminal measure a combined 36,210 square-metres with a 45 metre-high Air Control Tower.
Mann-Shinar Architects and Moshe Zur Architects led the entire design team of the project from the masterplan to the construction documents of each individual check-in counter.
The project's design programme claims that it was influenced by the futuristic world of aviation and the seemingly timeless natural surrounding of the airport's desert location.
According to the design team: "The mushroom-like rock formations found in Israel's National Timna Park served as inspiration for the initial geometry of the Passenger Terminal Building and create a self-shading volume.
"The expansive views are placed on centre stage for each traveller to encounter throughout their journey. The minimalist interior scheme is based on a tightly organised high-ceilinged hall with low-level furniture and pavilions acting as dividers."
It notes that Ramon Airport's envelope consists of a steel and concrete skeleton structure, cladded to the exterior with insulating pristine-white aluminum triangular panels.
The building's interior features a contrasting bamboo-wood cladded scheme.
Both the interior and exterior claddings are continuous from wall to roof, forming a singular cohesive and complete architectural space and object.
It adds that the opaque volume of the airport is 'carved' by the designed movements of its passengers, inspired by the desert boulder's formation by the motions of wind and water.
Glass curtain walls divide the Passenger Terminal Building at its entrances, exits and patios, sectioning the passenger traffic and controlling the security processes.
While light wells allow sunlight to penetrate the depth of the building, allowing "spatial incisions to enrich the interior by making all streams of passenger movement visible for the incoming and outgoing traveller."
The design team concludes: "The design introduces the building into the desert landscape through exterior patios and a central open-air café with a biological pool and garden. The result is one continuous spatial experience for the passenger on a single level.
Ramon Airport is expected to handle around 2.25 million in its first year of operations, with the figure expected to rise to 4.25 within a few years.