Queen Alia International Airport



Project overview

The award-winning new terminal at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, is a potent symbol of the growth of Jordan’s economy. The $750m project was designed to replace three existing, outdated terminals at the site – creating an ultramodern new gateway to the wider region, and supporting enormous passenger growth over the next 25 years.

Kingspan’s technical team worked closely with contractors J&P Ltd to deliver a bespoke engineering solution to bring Foster + Partners’ architectural vision for the terminal to life. Together, they created an environmentally sensitive landmark that makes a lasting first impression on visitors from both the ground and in the air.

Design stage

Foster + Partners’ vision was to create a terminal building to reflect the importance of the airport as an important gateway to the Levant, while remaining sensitive to regional tastes and the environment.

The main feature of the building design is the tessellated roof canopy, which extends to provide shade for the façades. This consists of 127 shallow curved concrete domes, inspired by Bedouin tents, which branch out from supporting columns like palm leaves. The domes are covered by unique, double-curved steel ‘petals’. Daylight enters the building beneath through split beams at the column junctions, while a geometric pattern based on traditional Islamic forms appears on each exposed soffit.

The local climate presented a challenge for the energy performance of the terminal, with dramatic variations in summer day and night time temperatures an issue. To resolve this, the main bulk of the building is constructed entirely from concrete, the high thermal mass of which provides passive environmental control. To protect the dark-coloured roof from expansion and high heat gain during the day, a 300mm void was specified between the steel standing seam system and the precast concrete shells, which were in turn insulated and covered with a single-ply weatherproof membrane. The void was then ventilated with a series of 50mm holes drilled into the centre of each dome, designed to encourage convection to prevent the space from becoming too warm.

Build stage

A bespoke engineered solution was required to meet the complex technical, aesthetic and environmental brief, but with Kingspan’s expertise the complex double-curved 3D roof design became a reality.

The Kingspan Insulated Panels technical team worked with project contractors J&P Ltd to design a solution using the KingZip SF standing seam system. KingZip SF was the ideal solution for this project because its flexibility allows architects to meet almost any design need. It is available in multiple metal types and paint system finishes, and an enormous variety of lengths, widths and curvatures.

A lightweight steel structure was created, covered with KingZip SF standing seam sheets, which were curved from the eaves to the apex, and on the opposite side from the apex to the eaves. This layout met all of the necessary criteria, forming the roof’s unique double-curved petal shape and maintaining the 300mm void between the standing seam sheets and the concrete shells. The lightweight steel frame designed to support the standing seam system needed to be strong enough to accommodate the negative wind loadings possible across the entire 45,000m2 roof.

Kingspan prepared all of the working drawings for the standing seam and designed the supporting steel arrangement. During installation, the team was on hand to modify the design for individual domes where variance occurred in the concrete substructure, using curved tapered sheets and packers to ensure the desired appearance was maintained.


 The new building opened in 2013, and has already become an essential infrastructure node for Jordan and the wider region. It is enabling the airport to fulfil its passenger growth targets of 6% per annum for the next 25 years, boosting annual capacity from 3 million to 12.8 million by 2030.

As soon as we got the brief in from Foster + Partners, we knew we wanted to speak with the team at Kingspan Insulated Panels. We’ve worked together on a number of different projects before, and we know that Kingspan delivers, when we need unique, high performance structural solutions for our clients.”J&P Ltd

 Queen Alia International Airport Exterior


Awarded “Best Improvement by Region: Middle East” and “Best Airport by Region: Middle East” in the Airport Council International ‘Airport Service Quality Survey’.

Winner in Transport category, Cityscape Architectural Review Awards




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