Mexico City Airport

Mexico City Airport

The roof of the New International Airport for Mexico City is a lightweight steel shell structure and an architectural centerpiece of the new 4,432 hectare greenfield airport development. Located at the Lake Texacoco lakebed, the soil conditions address the challenge of a site subject to regional subsidence with long term consolidation estimates that exceed 5m over the lifetime of the building.

Visually exposed and structurally independent from the building beneath, it supports a 500,000m2 envelope that reaches a peak height of 45m above ground level and maximum span-to-depth ratio of nearly 60:1. While it is comprised of several subassemblies, including a 2-layer tetrahedral ball-node space frame and single-layer welded CHS shells, the roof was designed and detailed with the overt intent of achieving seamless visual continuity across the entire system. It is a mile long, nearly half a mile wide and is achieved with no movement joints. This presentation will outline the team’s approach to form-finding and design of the system’s sub-assemblies. It will provide an overview of the most significant structural hazards and the analytical methods employed to optimize the system for steel tonnage.