Well-designed airports should be easily read and understood, helping users to navigate complex processes for timely, hassle-free journeys. DesignInc recently completed a series of projects at Sydney International Airport aimed at improving the passenger experience for remote stand bussing operations.
The bussing redevelopment includes three new bussing zones; two servicing arriving passengers at Piers B and C and one for departing passengers at the end of Pier B East. DesignInc expanded the existing departure’s bussing gate lounge to allow for three new bus bays and constructed two new arrivals lobbies that directly link passengers to the arrivals level of the main terminal.
The new arrivals lobbies facilitate seamless and simple passenger transition offering a welcoming ambience and world-class arrival experience. “The arrivals lobbies were designed to artfully, effortlessly and intuitively lead passengers into the main terminal building to continue on to the next stage of their journey,” says DesignInc Principal Cathryn DrewBredin.
Airports are often complex environments and they need to support users’ navigation of terminals for timely and stress-free arrivals and departures. Wayfinding helps users do this, and intuitive wayfinding – visual cues embedded in the architecture – allow passengers to navigate with minimal conscious effort.
DesignInc used various surface treatments and natural light to link interior and exterior spaces to guide passengers’ sight lines and movement through the non-dwelling spaces. Glazed screens alongside the bussing bays contain passengers’ movement, providing direction into the terminal and screening them from inclement weather. The arrivals lobbies have timber batten ceilings and LED lighting extending both from the bussing bay canopy outside to the escalators inside, leading passengers to the arrivals level of the main terminal building. The timber battens are aligned and sculpted in the direction of travel to support and gently guide passengers as they ascend to the arrivals level.
Natural light and supergraphics are also used to guide movement. Skylights are positioned near vertical transport elements to unconsciously draw people towards them and a large spiralling graphic sweeps up the wall alongside the escalators, mimicking and supporting the direction of movement.
Robust materials, such as compact laminate, stainless steel and solid timber, have been used for warmth and durability in high-impact and high-touch immediate passenger zones. Acoustic materials mitigate reverberation and solid walls obstruct passengers’ views of behind-the-scene services and frame apron views to the aircraft and the city beyond.
“Without intuitive wayfinding passengers rely on static signage to orient themselves. Good design doesn’t require much, if any, static signage,” Cathryn explains. “The quality of the design in an airport environment is its ability to intuitively orient passengers, improve passenger experience and ensure stress levels are managed throughout the passenger journey from ‘runway (aircraft) to road (transport)’ – in this instance – and vice versa.”