Kansai International Airport Terminal

Kansai International Airport Terminal, Osaka, Japan, Renzo Piano
Address: Izumisano-shi | OSAKA | Japan | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 34.4347, 135.244

Kansai International Airport (KIX) is the world’s first ocean airport, built on a landfill island in Osaka Bay, Japan. Opened in 1994, KIX was a modern engineering marvel, built entirely as an artificial island. Because the site is built upon compacted fill, it suffers from subsidence, sinking 2-4 centimeters per year. KIX is linked to the mainland by a 3.7-kilometer bridge, and provides air service for the nearby cities of Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto.

Four months after opening, the airport was severely tested by the magnitude 6.7 Kobe earthquake; it survived with only minor damage, and provided continuous operation during the relief efforts. This simulated-natural-color ASTER image was acquired on September 19, 2003. The full scene covers an area of 48.5 x 55.5 km.

The longest terminal in the world
KIX has a single four-storey terminal designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Renzo Piano and Noriaki Okabe). It is the longest airport terminal in the world, at a total length of 1.7 km from end to end: a sophisticated people mover system called Wing Shuttle moves passengers from one end of the pier to the other.

The roof
The terminal’s roof is shaped like an airfoil. This shape is used to promote air circulation through the building: giant air conditioning ducts blow air upwards at one side of the terminal, circulate the air across the curvature of the ceiling, and collect the air through intakes at the other side. Mobiles are suspended in the ticketing hall to take advantage of the flowing air.

The ticketing hall overlooks the international departures concourse, and the two are separated by a glass partition. During Kansai’s early days, visitors were known to throw objects over the partition to friends in the corridor below. The partition was eventually modified to halt this practice.

⇒ Architecture Guide to OSAKA