Gateway at KLIA2 was conceived as the first shopping centre to be integrated with an international airport in Malaysia. At the commencement of the project the adjoining international airport was already under construction with the intention that the departures drop-off would provide the access to both buildings. It became quickly apparent, however, that in order to provide an integrated solution, passengers must have the opportunity to experience the landside retail en route to the main terminal building. HLDG conceived a solution whereby Gateway provided the drop off for departing passengers and thus became the ‘face’ of the new KLIA2 terminal.

Similarly, returning passengers pass through the main terminal building and exit at the Gateway lower ground level and necessarily pass through the mall en route to the ERL rail link, the taxis and to the main car park building beyond.

The form of the building was derived from a series of simple folding planes which envelope the building and then make way for the main spine of the departure drop-off. The roof canopy which spans some sixty metres over the departures area takes precedent from aeronautical forms and its slender supports are intended to imply that their purpose is to keep the canopy from lifting away rather than support its weight.

Internally the performance of this building was to meet the functions of an international airport in terms of circulation, occupant capacity and directional signage whilst retaining its aesthetic focus as a predominately retail environment. The ceiling plane is pushed high to optimize a sense of space in the busy areas around the pick-up and drop-off zones and the transport hub. Mechanical and ventilation systems are swooping forms within the volume; likewise the signage elements, the curves of which mimic the flight route maps familiar to passengers and which provide visual guidance to passengers and their companions to and from the terminal. Retail units are conceived as a series of ‘enclosures’ within the main volume, with concealed lighting illuminating the ceiling plane above. The use of monochromatic finishes creates a clean and uncluttered back drop to the vibrant colours presented by the retail tenants.

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