Clark International Airport showcases the best of Pampanga

Published August 31, 2021, 5:53 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

The P20-B airport project is chosen as finalist in the Prix Versailles World Selection

For the longest time, Filipinos are dreaming to have world-class airport that can compete with world renown terminals such as Hamad International Airport of Qatar, Changi Airport of Singapore, and Incheon International Airport of South Korea. 

And now, it seems like the long wait is over, as the Clark International Airport is one of the chosen finalists in the prestigious Prix Versailles World Selection Architecture and Design Awards under the Airport Category. Finalists of the Prix are chosen for their innovative qualities, creativity, and its design connection to the culture and heritage.

The inspiration

And speaking of culture and heritage, Ben Dawson, the architect from Populous Architecture company— the lead interior designer and retail planner for the new terminal which ensured that the Filipino culture and aesthetic reverberated through all aspects of interior design tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, that Clark International Airport will showcase the best of Pampanga. 

“We drew inspiration from Pampanga’s stunning natural beauty and we wanted to select a material palette which reflects that vibrancy. We wanted to avoid the neutral beige colors of many airports around the world, and instead select materials which reflect the local area’s vibrancy,” he says. “But at the same time, we also feel that there is a bit of a subtlety to the design because we want to showcase the incredible views outside. This is a very open airport, lots of natural daylight, and lots of opportunities to see the external landscape, which we don’t want to compete against, we want to showcase it. Those were our main design inspirations.” 

With the land are of 110,000 square meters, Clark International airport is a four-level terminal that can cater eight million passengers annually. It has a dedicated OFW lounge, walk-through commercial spaces, gender-neutral toilet, elevators and escalators in each boarding gate– making the terminal accessible to all. On top of these, the said airport is also surrounded by breath-taking views of Arayat and the Zambales mountains. 

“The beauty of the nature is reflected in the color palette [of the airport],” says Bi Yong Chungunco, chief executive officer of the Luzon International Premiere Airport Development Corp (LIPAD), the consortium in charge of the airport’s operations and maintenance. “We chose the green tile. It looks lahar because we take inspiration from that. Then if you go to Mount Pinatubo, if you hike there, there’s this beautiful blue water, during summer. And that blue, you can see in our glass. We call it the blue glass. Those are the examples why we say that they really take inspiration from the beautiful landscape.” 

Parol is the beacon

Bi also says that some of the artworks and furniture in the airport are sourced from Pampanga. But what is Pampanga without its world-class parol? The team behind the project says they are putting up not just one but several parols in the terminal. 

“This terminal is all about showcasing the best of Pampanga, whether that’s furniture makers, local artists, I’m really excited about this parol,” says Ben. “We’re exploring whether we do two or three different sizes. Some may be a bit smaller, but I think it will be a real beacon in the terminal. You should be able to see it from most parts of the terminal, kind of like a real anchoring point.”