Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Location: Mumbai, India

Accommodating Mumbai’s emergence as the financial capital of India and supporting its airport’s growing volume of domestic and international air traffic required a bold solution. Already daunting, this project was further complicated by the client’s challenge to triple the existing airport’s capacity on a highly constrained site ringed by informal villages and an overflowing river. The result is a new terminal that echoes the heritage of the country and the spirit of the city.

The design team’s response for the new terminal is an x-shaped, four-level plan that seamlessly fits the site, avoids the villages and river, and maximizes frontage for aircraft parking. The terminal also provides aircraft contact gates that can handle 32 wide-body aircraft or 48 narrow-body aircraft for both international and domestic travel. In India, this meant that the design needed to separate departing and arriving passengers from each other to accommodate local customs, as well as separate post-security facilities for both international and domestic sectors. The team, however, was able to arrange the post-security facilities to pivot between both sectors and allow the 450,000-square-foot terminal to fit the site.

In order to keep the airport functioning at all times, the terminal was constructed in phases. It embodies Mumbai through its forward-looking design that is both energetic and distinctively Indian. Instead of copying historic models for the massing, interiors, and details, the design evokes pavilions and pillared halls. The monumental superstructure has quickly become one of the city’s iconic forms, and its concrete and composite steel design uses long-span bays to provide flexible interior floor space. Above, the truss roof structure features GFRC and GRFG cladding with a coffer pattern that echoes traditional Indian decorative patterns and extends well over the departure curb to provide shelter from the sun and rain.

A number of the interior details were designed in collaboration with a local fashion house and are based on traditional craft patterns. Gate lounge light fixtures resemble the lotus, India’s national flower, and provide a hand-crafted feel that helps humanize the passenger spaces. In addition, several hundred meters of wall space were set aside to display artwork, a feature that a number of travel writers have noted as a unique feature of the terminal. Its strategic placement makes it visible to departing and arriving passengers alike.

"An ingenious and inventive series of solutions, elegantly followed through everywhere." - Jury comment

Additional information

Engineer – Structural: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Baggage Handling: BNP Associates

Lighting: Brandston Partnership, Inc.

Acoustics: Cerami & Associates

Engineer of Record: Larsen & Tuobro, Ltd.

General Contractor: Larsen & Tuobro, Ltd.

Engineering Consultant: Mulvey & Banani International, Inc.

Signage: Pentagram

Code Analysis: Rolf Jensen & Associates

Vertical Transportation: Van Deusen & Associates


Samuel M. Miller, FAIA (Chair), LMN, Seattle, Washington

Merrill Elam, AIA, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Atlanta, Georgia

Rebecca Sharkey, AIA, EHDD, San Francisco, California

Dale Frens, AIA, patterhn ives, llc, West Chester, Pennsylvania

Michael Johns, FAIA, NOMA, Mdesigns + MWJ Consulting LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Michelle Acosta, AIA, SmithGroup, Phoenix, Arizona

Trinity Simons, Mayor's Institute on City Design, Washington, District of Columbia

Kevin Alter, Assoc. AIA, Alterstudio Architecture, Austin, Texas

Caleb Bertels, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Image credits

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2-05

Lucas Blair Simpson

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2-04

Lucas Blair Simpson

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2-06

Lucas Blair Simpson

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2-07

Lucas Blair Simpson

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2-03

Lucas Blair Simpson