Balice int’l airport rapidly expanding

A Spanish-Warsaw team has won a competition for best design of an enlarged passenger terminal at Balice International Airport. However, the Estudio Lamela team may not actually get to design the terminal plus the hotel and parking that will go with it. That’s because the airport board does not have to go with the winning design but can choose one of the top three. The second-place winner was a London-Krakow team and the third-place winner a Krakow entrant. The project involves “enlargement of the passenger terminal by building a new pavilion in an area between the presently existing passenger terminal and the terminal cargo area, plus building a hotel and parking,” said airport spokesman Piotr Pietrzak. The new terminal will have 23,000 square meters of space, about 50 percent more than the current 15,000 square meters. The hotel and the multi-level parking area will go up opposite the enlarged terminal.The winning team’s design is clean and elegant, said Architecture Professor Stefan Kurylowicz, head of the group that judged the competition. It also harmonizes with the airport’s existing architecture, he said. The winners received 80,000 zloty in prize money.Second price of 50,000 zloty went to the design of HOK International Limited of London and Wizja sp.zoo of Krakow.Third prize 30,000 zloty went to Kontrapunkt V of Krakow.Although the prize money was no small win, the big financial prize will go to the team chosen by the airport board to carry out the project.Construction should begin by the end of next year and be finished in 2010. “The cost shouldn?t surpass 70 mln euro,” said Pietrzak, who added that “the money for enlarging the terminal will come from EU funds. “The terminal is just one of a number of Balice projects planned for the new several years. Those who take the train to and from the airport will be glad to hear that a rail line is planned to be built all the way to the terminal. Currently, the train’s final stop is 200 meters from the airport. A projected surge in auto traffic to and from the airport has led to plans to add lanes to the road serving the facility. Instead of two lanes, the road will be four lanes, separated by a greenbelt. It will link Krakow’s Armii Krajowej Street with Balice. The airport has already added the equipment for 15 passenger check-in points and five security-control points in the terminal. Right now the equipment is serving the passengers of low-cost airlines.In the future it will be used only for passengers of EU members and other countries which signed the Schengen Agreement. The agreement was signed in 1985 to harmonize external border controls among EU members and the non-EU nations of Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. The agreement is expected to apply to Poland in April of 2008. The number of travelers using Balice International Airport jumped by 50 percent last year to 3 mln.When the enlarged terminal is finished, Balice will be able to serve 9 mln travelers a year.

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