Travellers to Jordan’s capital Amman and the surrounding Levant, which includes Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus, may find their trips to the region get off to a more impressive start with the opening of the new terminal at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport.
Designed by Foster + Partners, the building’s distinctive structure is inspired by local traditions and topography – a series of domes branch out from supporting columns like the leaves of a desert palm; a geometric pattern based on traditional Islamic forms is applied to each exposed soffit – and pays heed to the local climate. As summer temperatures in Amman vary significantly between day and night, the building is constructed mainly from heat-dissipating concrete.
Other references to local Jordanian tradition may not be immediately apparent to travellers. Seen from above, the succession of domes that make up the terminal’s roof are designed to resemble the flowing fabric of a Bedouin tent. In Jordan, large family gatherings customarily wait en masse to welcome back or bid farewell to related travellers, so the terminal also features an enlarged, landscaped and shaded plaza at its front where gatherings can converge.
Amman is already a popular destination with travellers eager to visit the surrounding attractions of Petra and Wadi Rum and it is hoped that the improved and expanded Queen Alia International Airport will facilitate a greater number of tourists keen to visit Jordan. Further sections of the airport will open from 2014 and capacity at the building is expected to rise accordingly. A total of 5.5m passengers passed through the airport in 2011; that figure is expected to rise to 12m passengers per annum by 2020.
See more images of the new Queen Alia International Airport terminal here .