The reinvigorated International Terminal at Brisbane Airport, redesigned with distinct Queensland flavour, will have visitors at ‘hello’

If the designers of the upgraded International Terminal at Brisbane Airport make you forget you’re in an airport while you wait to board, they will have achieved their goal.

The $45 million redevelopment of the terminal which begins work next month, aims to be a global benchmark for design and give world travellers an authentic experience of Brisbane that goes beyond blatant tourism hard-sell.

“It will create a truly unique gateway to our new world city,” says Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO and managing director Julieanne Alroe.

The breaking of the mould and transformation of the terminal into one with a distinctly Brisbane design has been charged to local architects Ingrid Richards and Adrian Spence and Arkhefield. And they have dug deep to plan a contemporary iconic site that is about more than pineapples and sunshine.

“We wanted to represent Queensland and its people honestly,” says Richards claiming the design brief was to produce something iconic, vibrant, engaging and place-making.

“It will civilise people’s perception of sitting on the ground in a terminal.”

“We believe it is not symbols that are iconic, but people. The vibrancy is happy, healthy people; the engagement is with an environment that you really enjoy being in and not the placelessness and timelessness that you usually simply endure in an airport,” she says.

Our sub-tropical lifestyle and outdoor living will be captured in a large “outdoor room” against the glass facade that overlooks the tarmac, where people will enter from customs and duty-free areas. Styled as an urban courtyard, it will have local foliage, a periphery of specialty retail and stone tiles to enhance the sense of outdoors.

Like an urban space, it will feature streets, parks and a central green – an inviting ‘grass’ space where people can sit, lie, eat and relax.

“It will civilise people’s perception of sitting on the ground in a terminal,” Richards says.

“Where now it seems not quite right to get down on the floor, in the new space it will be encouraged. And it will open up food tenants’ options for catering menus.”

The options for more upmarket dining will also be there and the seating and waiting options will differentiate, depending on whether people are waiting at a departure gate, dining, reading, resting or working and for varying ages.

Mornington Island-based Indigenous artist Sally Gabori will create a work for the arrivals concourse wall and a piece by Brisbane textbased artist Sebastian Moody (he of the large sign The More I Think About It the Bigger It Gets on the Ivory St tunnel wall) will grace the wall behind the customs area.

Richard says the last image and taste people have of a city is usually leaving its airport, so the redesign will imprint Brisbane on them and what life and people here are truly about.

“It will be the very best hello and goodbye for travellers,” she says.

The terminal work at Brisbane Airport is scheduled to finish in mid-2015.