Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Named Suvarnabhumi (meaning 'Golden Land') by His Majesty King Bumibol Adelyadej, the new airport in Bangkok is one of the largest in the world. The airport can handle as many as 76 flights per hour on its two simultaneously operating runways. The open-plan facility includes main arrival halls, departure halls, concourses, ticketing areas, baggage claim, customs/immigration, lounges and concessions. 

Balancing Climate and Use

WSP provided mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering for the airport, as well as lighting design. When designing the HVAC systems for the airport, our engineers were faced with the task of mediating between Bangkok’s typical climatic conditions (77–90 degrees Fahrenheit and high level of relative humidity all year) and the airport’s demand for 24-hour working days and high internal heat loads from people, electric equipment and lighting. We were eventually forced to develop a technique that would account for the environmental intangibles while still meeting the 75.2 F room temperature requirement.

One strategy used to address such a concern was to split the airport into two zones: an unconditioned zone at higher levels and cooled occupied zones at lower levels; thus consuming mechanical cooling energy only in those areas where necessary, drastically reducing the total cooling demand.

The airport also features a radiant floor system, which at the time of construction was the largest in the world. We designed the chiller plant to provide 20,000 tons of chilled water for the complex to air-condition roughly 4.3 million square feet of building areas. The plant, located in a remote parking structure for cars, is connected to the terminal building by an underground utility tunnel and distributed in the service and baggage handling levels of the project.