Terminal 2 at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru

Commercial, Infrastructure / 2nd Quarter 2024

Terminal 2 at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru

June 11, 2024

“Is there a more interstitial space than an airport? It is the most terminally liminal area: between cities, between flights, between appointments, between everything”1, observed author Roy Christopher regarding the nature of airports.

Due to the common perception that airports serve mainly as a transitory space, as a bridge between ‘landside’ and ‘airside’, many of them have been designed in a purely functional manner to handle administration while ensuring the security of passengers and goods. This often resulted in sameness and a lack of sense of place. In Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Structure, Alastair Gordon wrote: “While the early days of flight created a new awareness of landscape and architecture, the view from the jets made everything look the same … once inside the plane, nothing much happened. The lack of sensation would be compensated for by the in-flight screening of movies and other forms of distraction.”2

It is from this perspective that passenger terminals were thought to be able to offer something else to humanise the experience of what is innately a rushed and restrictive mode of travel. Airport design in the mid-century period imbued their identity with a sense of grandeur to uplift passengers’ spirits by using metaphors of flight such as soaring structures, wing-like forms and streamlined engineering. By the early 21st century and to this day, the design trend has reflected an expression against “technological fatigue”3 and incorporated more natural or biophilic elements, such as blurring distinctions between inside and outside, as well as inserting swaths of the landscape into the terminals.

To move away from engineered concrete and tempered glass as the main design expression, major airports are racing to extensively apply wood-based materials, which are not only seen as imparting a ‘warmer’ and more tactile sensory experience, but also potentially reducing embodied carbon in the construction. Some examples include the wood-clad Oslo Airport expansion4, 5 and the massive laminated timber structures of Terminal 2 at Mactan Cebu International Airport.6 The trend continues with more mass-timber airports planned to be built in the coming years, such as the remodelled Portland International Airport7 and Dock A at Zurich Airport.8


A more recently opened example can be seen in Bengaluru, the capital of the state of Karnataka in India. Being one of the country’s largest urban areas, the megacity is dubbed ‘the Silicon Valley of India’ due to its rapidly growing IT, engineering and defence industries (including various aerospace R&D and manufacturing facilities9, 10).

Since 2008, Bengaluru has been served by Kempegowda International Airport in Devanahalli, located 40 kilometres away from the city centre. It was expanded with the 255,000-square-metre Terminal 2—which commenced domestic operations in January 2023 and opened international operations in January 2024—increasing the airport’s annual passenger capacity by 25 million.

The terminal design is described by the architects to be “humanist and rooted in Nature”. The structure that houses the departure gates is pulled away from the main complex (containing arrivals, check-in facilities, security checkpoints, baggage reclaim and a retail pavilion) and the two are connected by an expansive outdoor green belt. It flourishes with indigenous flora, multilevel walkways and two-storey pavilions that are clad in bamboo, inspired by traditional Indian cane weavings. Outdoor walkways provide departing passengers with a calming oasis amidst the bustle.

Aside from the outdoors landscape, Terminal 2’s interiors are also rich with sensory stimuli that lend the terminal a sense of warmth and comfort. There is a variety of hanging planters; skylights are filtered through bamboo lattices; custom furnishings clad in traditional woven rattan and locally sourced granite; indoor waterfalls inspired by the boulders and waterways of Karnataka become focal points while helping to cool the indoor temperature.


Project Name
Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru – Terminal 2

Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Completion Date

Building Gross Area
380,000 square meters

Number of Gates

50,000,000 passengers annually (Terminals 1 and 2)

Bengaluru International Airport Limited

Lead Consultant

Architect and Structural Engineer
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

Landscape Architect
Grant Assosciates

Design Consultant
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla (AJSK)

MEPF Engineers
Terminal 2: Arup; Multi-Modal Transit Hub: Buro Happold

Baggage Consultant
BNP Associates

Lighting Consultant
Brandston Partnership Inc (BPI)

General Contractor
Larsen & Toubro

Life Cycle Analysis and Life Cycle Engineering (LCA & LCE); Landside Infrastructure; External Utilities
STUP Consultants Pvt Ltd

IT; Security; Public Address; Flight Announcement System
Mulvey & Banani International Inc. (MBII)

Signage & Wayfinding
Merson Group (MSD)

Airside Consultant
CH2M Hill

Vertical & Horizontal Transportation
Terminal 2: H. H Angus & Associates; Multi-Modal Transit Hub: Lerch Bates

Code Consultant

Retail Consultant

Ar. Ekansh Goel © Studio Recall

Read more stories from FuturArc 2Q 2024: In-between Spaces!


1 Roy Christopher, “Terminal Philosophy: A Cultural History of Airports”. https://wellredbear.com/the-textual-life-of-airports/
2 Alastair Gordon, Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Structure: “Jet Land: 1957–1970”
3 https://architecture-history.org/schools/AIRPORTS.html#M
4 https://nordicarch.com/project/oslo-airport-expansion
5 https://www.burohappold.com/projects/gardermoen-airport-terminal-2-pier-extension/
6 https://www.ida-hk.com/project/mactan-cebu-international-airport-terminal-2/
7 https://www.zgf.com/work/3734-port-of-portland-pdx-airport-main-terminal-expansion
8 https://www.hok.com/news/2022-06/bighok-team-wins-global-zurich-airport-competition-with-timber-design/
9 Indian Aerospace & Defence Bulletin, “Karnataka – The Aerospace Hub Of India.” https://www.iadb.in/2022/08/31/karnataka-the-aerospace-hub-of-india/
10 The Economic Times, “Bengaluru aerospace ecosystem gives wings to startups to fly high”. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/startups/bengaluru-aerospace-ecosystem-gives-wings-to-startups-to-fly-high/articleshow/98023546.cms?from=mdr
11 In 2022, the airport’s on-site solar power generation facility claimed to generate over 10 million kWh of electricity annually, in addition to power purchase agreements of 40 million kWh from nearby solar power facilities and 20 million kWh from wind power facilities. (https://runwaygirlnetwork.com/2022/06/kempegowda-international-sustainable-airport-leadership/)

To read the complete article, get your hardcopy at our online shop/newsstands/major bookstores; subscribe to FuturArc or download the FuturArc App to read the issues.