Tocumen International Airport

Place Panama City
Country Panama
Client ISCOM S.p.A.
Team Politecnica Ingegneria e Architettura
Assignment Construction design, technical assistance, development and geometrical definition of the surface and the structures supporting the roofing
Dates of services 2016 - 2017
Project area 85.000 m2
Building footprint 50.000 m2

The Project

The new international airport, designed by Foster+Partners, features an area covering 670 meter maximum in length and 180 in width.

The double-curved line changes continuously both in value and in pattern, maintaining a very limited gradient, which implies a remarkable design accuracy in defining and controlling the envelope shape. The introduction of two large water collection channels and relating slopes increases the complexity of the geometrical junction.


On the other hand, the pattern of the metal structures defines a different surface from the “objective” area, besides being subject to assembly tolerances that, due to the large size of the structure, prove to be significant at curve variations analysis.

From 3D scan to objective surface

Once developed the “objective” area, Politecnica’s designers focused on the concept and engineering of the system of structural components supporting the roof envelope – with their “continuously changing seriality”, contributing to the achievement of the geometrical, formal and construction shape.  The roof shall in fact assure the essential resistance to wind and seismic action for compliance with locally applicable codes, as well as meet Foster+Partners’ performance standards.

Supporting system, structural design

Moreover, digital data processing was specifically required throughout the design activity.  The “objective” area enables to control each and any component, starting from the relating geo-referential position in the assembly. The obtained sequence is complete and, the production process being distributed in different workshops, with a functionality providing up to individual shipment packings definition.

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