Simplistic Dynamism in Sustainable Architecture

The Agartala Airport project is perceived as a fusion of modern architecture with the local art; it derives its design vocabulary from the local environment and cultural context
Ar. Gurpreet Singh Shah, Creative Group

New Integrated Terminal Building (and associated works) Agartala Airport, Tripura

Fact File
Name of Project: New Integrated Terminal Building (and associated works) Agartala Airport, Tripura
Client: SGS India
Built up Area: 31,500-sqm
Architectural Firm: Creative Group LLP, Prof. Charanjit Shah, Ar. Gurpreet Shah, Ar. Surjit Bhumbra
Cost of Project: ₹318.41 crore

Agartala in Tripura will soon get a New Integrated Terminal building. The existing terminal building at the Bir Bikram Singh Airport was saturated, with no further scope for expansion, necessitating the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to construct a new integrated terminal building with enhanced capacity and modern amenities.

New Integrated Terminal Building (and associated works) Agartala Airport, Tripura

The new modern Integrated Terminal Building at Agartala Airport is designed keeping local architecture, art, and heritage in mind. The design manifests the sweeping roof profile that envelops the entire terminal spanning 30,000 sqm and procures its form from the hilly terrain of the state of Tripura. The intent was to create an overall free-flowing terminal, which is simple and easy to construct, while being a perfect mix of ecological infrastructure, art, and building technology, and also using advanced Intelligent Building Management (BIM) systems so as to optimize the consumption of energy.

New Integrated Terminal Building (and associated works) Agartala Airport, Tripura

The Agartala Airport derives its vocabulary from the local environment and cultural context. It is a great example of simplicity in architecture. Bamboo is used as a widespread local material in the state for construction while tribal artwork and crafts promote cultural tourism. The usage of these art and craft work is displayed all over the terminal as sculptures, jaali work, furniture, and murals. Inspired from extensive green forest covers, the bamboo plantations are combined with local tribal stone sculptures of the Unakoti hills and the bamboo handicrafts made in Agartala. Bamboo stem sculptures in the waiting area inside the terminal building enhance the interior landscape.
Ar. Gurpreet Singh Shah, Creative Group
Airport infrastructure projects are gateways to the country. They purposefully showcase the development of the nation, with an understanding of technology in the built environment and protecting the urban fabric within, while integrating the heritage and architecture of present times

Prof. Charanjit S. Shah

Jaalis are an eminent functional design feature, which can be seen in traditional households as well as in royal forts and palaces. They restrict excessive solar radiation and permit optimum daylight to increase internal efficiency. Skylights have also been introduced to maximise natural daylight within the building.

New Integrated Terminal Building (and associated works) Agartala Airport, TripuraTransportation terminals are anything but stationary; in their dynamic nature lies our complex challenge to see, understand, and manage flow. Therefore, coalescence of form and functionality through architectural interventions is the key to transit architecture. Ar. Gurpreet Singh Shah

Further, bamboo architecture is represented in the façade of the terminal building by way of a floral GRC Tree Jaali pattern depicting the forests and greens of the region, placed equidistant from each other. Depiction of local motifs in metal cladding creates vibrancy while creating awareness about the art of the state.

Keeping the fluidity of the façade, the plan has also been incorporated with landscape areas inside the building which provide relief space for the passengers. The free-flowing form has been further accentuated at the arrival and departure areas, with courtyards on either ends of the terminal, and green cover and open spaces allowing light to enter the terminal, and lighting it from within with natural glare-free light. The design approach incorporates sustainability at its core with a focus on reducing the role of artificial lighting systems and respecting the solar movement.

New Integrated Terminal Building (and associated works) Agartala Airport, Tripura

The design is progressing, remarking the Benchmark Terminals T-3 at Delhi airport for design and selection of construction materials, and Terminal T-2 at Mumbai airport for general aesthetics, interiors, media plan and art work.

The proposed terminal building mainly covers the ground floor with some upper areas, consisting of RCC and steel columns, beams, and metal deck slab at mezzanine level. Structural support is provided with steel columns covered by metal cladding. To support this cladding, Steel Portal frames and Steel Purlins are used to derive the desired form and make the structural framework. These portal frame trusses will allow for column- free large span public spaces. The regular structural scheme and repetition of the basic structural module results in maximum resourcefulness and also assists in limiting the overall depth of the structural envelope.

The Agartala airport project is perceived as a fusion of modern architecture with the local art. The local environment and cultural references as well as the vernacular architecture of the region are well depicted in a contemporary way to add grandeur to the architectural vocabulary of the airport. The design reflects the philosophy that terminals as gateways play a major role in welcoming the passenger and should therefore be treated as a living organism and not a mass of brick and concrete.


In fact, airports have evolved to become the key factor in the production of local economic development. With more and more businesses taking place around these airports, a new urban form is fast emerging. Civil Aviation contributes to prosperity and creates opportunities for employment, business, commerce, trade, and facilitates tourism. With rapid growth and ease in mobility, travel comfort and infrastructure are also expanding parallelly.

Ar. Gurpreet Singh Shah, M.S in Urban Design, is a recipient of William Kinne Fellowship award, Columbia University, New York. He has more than a decade of local and international architecture and urban design experience.