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The Suvarnabhumi Airport is constructed
on a greenfield site 24 km east
of Bangkok. The first phase,
accommodating 45 million annual
passengers will include 56 contact gates
and 64 hardstand positions with 563,000
SM of terminal facilities. Planned
maximum capacity after phased
expansion will be 120 million annual
The masterplan utilizes a terminal/pier
concept that emphasizes passenger
circulation over aircraft circulation.

A large roof trellis structure placed over the complex
of functionally separate buildings unifies the site and
provides the predominant architectural image as
approached from the landside. Designed to
accommodate future growth of the terminal pavilion,
the trellis serves an important function by shading
the structures below from direct sunlight, thereby
reducing mechanical loads.

Outdoor spaces between the

buildings are also shaded by the
roof trellis and are important to the
overall concept. Rather than simply
comprising empty areas reserved
for future expansion, they are
landscaped courtyards, useful for
pedestrians and a visual amenity for
the passengers in the terminal
above. Cultural artifacts and
traditional architectural elements are
placed within these landscaped
courtyards, linking the terminal
complex to the cultural traditions of


The planning of the Suvarnabhumi
Airport is a masterpiece of
interdisciplinary work between
architects and engineers. The
complexity and the size of the airport
asked for new architectural and
engineering solutions. The goal to
create a low-energy-need building
and to design a building at the
cutting edge of state-of-the-art
technology required a very strict and
close cooperation between all
disciplines. The results are
convincing, surprising and sometimes - breath-taking.

The glazed Terminal Building is placed in

the center below the roof structure. It has
a size of 444 m by 111 m in plan and is
comprised of cable facade walls with a
height of about 35m. To guarantee life
long high performance and low
maintenance costs sunshade louvers,
comprised of mill finish aluminum, are
positioned on top of the roof structure.
They have been designed to shade the
Terminal Building from direct sunlight still
allowing diffuse indirect lighting to enter
the Terminal Building. Because the sun
shading louvers have been positioned
outside the building envelope, the
absorbed solar heat will be transmitted to
the environment by natural ventilation
creating an energy saving ecological

The roof structure of the Suvarnabhumi

Airport has a size of 567m by 210 m in
plan and is comprised of 8 super truss
girders. These girders have a central
span of 126 m and two cantilevering
ends, which both have a length of 42 m.
The entire roof is supported by 16 frametype steel columns. Creating the
architectural form by its function, the
geometry of the super truss girder was
determined through the level of the
bending moment.

The concourse enclosure, which will house the holdrooms and

passenger transportation means, is comprised of 5-pin arch
truss girders with an alternating system of glazed facades and
a translucent fabric membrane set-up, which is spanned to
bridge the 27 m spacing between the glass facades. The
laminated glass of the glass facade will receive a sun
protection coating and a ceramic frit of variable densities.
While the fritting is relatively dense at the rooftop to achieve
good solar protection against the high standing sun in
Thailand, it decreases gradually towards the lower parts to
allow for good views to the outside.

In the design and execution of

Suvarnabhumi Airport, innovative and
integrated architectural, structural and
environmental design were used, new
materials and systems of advanced
technology were developed and
unusual construction processes
required to meet the design goals.
The results are advanced long span,
lightweight steel structures, exposed
pre-cast concrete structures, clear or
low e-coated glass, a three layer
translucent membrane, integrated
cooling, using water as a low energy
carrier and the thermal mass of
concrete and a displacement ventilation
system with minimal air-changes.

Based on the master plan of Suvarnabhumi Airport Expansion

Project (SAEP), this project is the 1st phase of SAEP which
consists of the construction of the first midfield satellite building
(SAT-1), the automated people mover (APM) and the south
tunnel extension linking the Main Terminal Building (MTB) and
the SAT-1 building. The SAT-1 building is 1,052 meters long, 80
meters wide and 4 stories tall with a two story basement. The
roof structure is composed of steel truss structure and
steel columns. The lower levels are composed of prestressed flat slabs and reinforced concrete columns.


Figure 1: Approaching the massive terminal.

Figure 4: Detail of a truss being readied to be raised onto the

pillars. Note the workers in yellow hardhats on the truss.

Figure 2: Concourse C under


Figure 5: Workers under a Super truss--At any time there

are 9000-10,000 workers on-site.

Figure 3: Three stages of the Super truss--(right to

left) truss being assembled, truss ready to be raised
(detail below), truss on top of supports

Figure 6: Details of the Super trusses and their inverted triangle


Figure 7: The north end of Concourse G with the main

terminal hall to the left.

Figure 10: Concourse roofing sections ready to be installed.

Figure 8:The north end of Concourse G

Figure 11: Wall supports being reinforced before

Figure 9: Bamboo-like metal scaffolding for detail work on

Concourse A

Figure 12: Concourse G as seen from the end of


Concourse A.