Terminal In A Garden: Bengaluru Airport's Terminal-2 Is An Ode To The City, Old And New

Terminal In A Garden: Bengaluru Airport's Terminal-2 Is An Ode To The City, Old And New

by Vishnu Anand - Sunday, November 13, 2022 07:39 PM IST
Terminal In A Garden: Bengaluru Airport's Terminal-2 Is An Ode To  The City, Old And NewSelf and assisted check-in area at Bengaluru airport's Terminal 2
  • The Bengaluru airport terminal is a biodiversity hotspot that houses 7,700 transplanted plants that were dislodged due to road works

    The terminal design is inspired by temples and homes of Karnataka.

The new terminal T2 of the Bengaluru International Airport  Ltd (BIAL), in Bengaluru, formally launched by Prime Minister Modi on November 11 is being called a 'Terminal in a garden'. 

An ode to the legacy and history of Bengaluru, it reflects new-age philosophies of sustainability and renewable energy, use of future technologies and a maniacal commitment to the city’s historic tag of being “the garden city” of India.

Brimming with green

Swarajya took a privileged walk-through of the new terminal before its public launch next month. And the first thing that strikes one is the enviable ‘green’ aspect of it. Besides serving its core purpose of transporting passengers, the terminal is a huge biodiversity hotspot.

The length and breadth of the terminal features more than 180 rare and endangered species of Indian plants that have been adopted and grown within the terminal building. Additionally, 620 endemic plants of Karnataka are featured along with 7,700 transplanted plants that are almost 800 years old.

These plants were displaced due to roadworks in the State and carefully uprooted and re-rooted at T2.

Pre check-in area of Bengaluru Airport Terminal 2.
Pre check-in area of Bengaluru Airport Terminal 2.
Suspended  greenery
Suspended greenery

Tech-enabled greenery

Speaking exclusively to Swarajya, Prasannamurti Desai, VP of Landscaping at BIAL, explained the design philosophy behind the flora that is suspended from the roof of the terminal and tech-enablement of irrigation.

“We follow the design principle of bells and veils. Across the terminal, we have suspended bells and veils of various sizes, each holding three layers of plants. The top most layer consists of plants that require maximum water, followed by the mid-layer that requires slightly less water and the bottom layer that requires minimal water.”

Speaking about the tech behind watering these plants, he said, “We have an app-based intelligent irrigation system in place where water is auto-fed from the top layer, which flows down (after getting absorbed) layer by layer. On an average, each of the 400 odd plants in one bell or veil require just about 10ML of water, and the system auto-irrigates them every 20 days. By design, the bottom layer of plants survives mostly by trapping the humidity and keeping them hydrated for 20 days.”

An indigenously developed app sends out real-time alerts to the management centre in the event of excess water consumption, and provides feedback about general health of the plants.

Desai says, “We take our landscaping seriously and in course of time, it will contribute heavily to energy management and natural temperature control. Goes without saying, you will only be breathing fresh air in this terminal.” The terminal also houses 6 lakh plants sourced from multiple ecological habitats across the country.

Technology firsts

The new terminal will make Bengaluru the first airport in the world with its own Software Defined Network or SDN, in other words, software, rather than hardware or electromechanical switches control all its operations.

This helps create a single dashboard from where all  the smart irrigation controls can be monitored.

It will enable passengers to make end-end-use of the Digi-Yatra biometric travel programme, the Government of India’s signature platform and app for paperless travel aid, avoiding multiple identity checks.

Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad are the three airports where this is being launched for starters.

T2 is spread across a built-up area of 255,661 sqm, with a capacity of handling 25 million passengers every year. The terminal houses 90 check-in counters, 34 self-bag drop counters, 40 self-service check-in kiosks, and a baggage handling system equipped to handle 4,500 bags every hour.

Human interaction is minimum

Hari Marar, MD and CEO of BIAL, said, “We are keeping human interaction to the minimum. We have in place, full body scanning capability at security along with automatic baggage drop facilities. Across the pillars of Sustainability, technology and Arts & Culture, we have created a world for you to experience and create memories.”

About sustainability, Marar mentioned that the terminal is able to achieve 24.9 per cent energy savings with sky lighting and solar panels. “All the water we use is recycled. We have rainwater ponds with a capacity of 413m litres”, he said.

T2 is the largest airport in the world to achieve LEED Platinum certification before Day One of operations.

An arty experience

Rubbing shoulders with all the greenery and tech is the T2 Art Programme, which is inspired by Bharata’s Navarasa as mentioned in the Natyashastra.

To begin with T2 will feature 60 artworks by 43 artistes from across Karnataka and other States, along with ongoing initiatives to showcase the cultural diversity and art forms of southern India. However, the biggest element of art is the bells and veils plant holders that are inspired from traditional houses of Karnataka.   

T2 isn’t just an airport terminal. It is a multi-dimensional showcase of Brand Karnataka – both new and old.

Vishnu Anand is a writer and journalist who dabbles in technology, sports and lifestyle. His columns have appeared in 'The Hindu', 'Deccan Chronicle' and 'Mid-day'. He is also a social worker and an evangelist of truth.
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