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Quebec City International Airport

Part 1 Project 2002
Gabriel Rivest
Jean-Nicolas Faguy
Peter Youthed
Universite Laval Quebec Canada
The traveler’s imagination takes off with his departure, and it ends only at his arrival. A clear perception of the moment and place of departure and arrival is thus a necessary condition for the traveler to have a meaningful experience of travel. This spiritual duality –departing and arriving- marks both the traveler’s crossing of borders as well as the orientation that has been given to the project’s design. Two distinct boxes will help synthesizing and materializing this duality.

Like the two worlds they represent, the boxes are different both in terms of the structural system and the envelope which compose them :
- the departure box, which raises feverishly to the sky, is made of a non structural skin, with its horizontal wooden and steel boards pointing towards the sky,
- the arrival box, strongly anchored to the ground thanks to a structural skin, is made of three-sided HSS and wooden panels.
In both cases, wood acts like a intermediary between the functional character of the airport and its human vocation.

Between these two boxes lies the answer to the anguish of the traveler caught between two worlds: it reinforces the formal expression and the spiritual autonomy of two distinct journeys. This is where the fragility as much as the power of the HSS columns are expressed, as they are centrally located, separating the physical and mental paths of the traveler. These precise as well as divergent experiences of departure and arrival then lead to a better understanding of the airport: they also enhance the pleasure of travel. It is on these grounds that the project asserts and expresses itself in a new humanistic interpretation of what an airport could represent.

Structural considerations
The combined use of steel and concrete allows a decrease in the sizing ofn the supporting elements and offers a solution to the problem of steel's fire resistance. The use of concrete confined in HSS' endows steel with new possibilities; this process served as the building block of the structural system.

The main column, although standing 18 meters tall, acts as a sequence of short posts. The number of cycles of the spirals determines the length of the post as well as its slenderness. It is therefore possible to regain, through the spirals, the weak buckling loads of the central post (2% x load / distance between two half-cycles). The combination of materials, according to their strengths, will allow us to save energy and materials in years to come. The industrial production will, in these terms, be a lot more considerate of the environment and of future generations.

Gabriel Rivest
Jean-Nicolas Faguy
Peter Youthed

It is with great pleasure that I submit for your appreciation the project aforementioned. For our School, this project is of great importance because it confirms the interest and the creative potential of our new “Construction and Design” concentration in which it was produced. The pedagogical approach we developed in this new concentration aims at integrating conceptual purpose and realistic materials in the design process.

The project was bestowed with an Excellence Award in the ACSA/STI Hollow Structural Sections Design and Engineering Challenge - Airport: Gateway to the City. It is a remarkable project in the way the materials and techniques articulate the architectural concept.

The imposing scale of the airport provides travellers with a highly characterized architectural experience: the grand hall, the departure and arrival docks, as well as the runways. In each of these components, a different material and structural concept is associated. A series of extremely slim pillars, stabilized by an ingenious stiffening system, materializes the important bisecting line which separates the arrivals from the departures. Logical, original and evocative, the project offers new perspectives for airports of the future.

Projects like this one, give us confidence in the creative potential, as well as the technical abilities of the upcoming generation of architects. We hope that you share our enthusiasm.

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