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Keeping passengers moving in airports and keeping airports functioning optimally starts long before the airport itself is in operation. Modelling plays a significant part in making this possible and our expertise here is in action long before arrival or departure.
Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Over the past century it has developed from a few wooden structures on a muddy strip of reclaimed land into an airport city which places passengers at the centre of its complex operations.

Every new development in its history started with sketching the first ideas on paper, and then translating those into models. These representations help to imagine the adaptations that need to be made. NACO, a company of Royal HaskoningDHV has worked alongside Schiphol for nearly 50 years. The alliance has been built on NACO’s ability to support the airport’s objectives. Over the years painted presentations built to scale models developed into computer renderings, video’s and ultimately ‘walk-throughs’ with virtual reality glasses.

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GERARD GEURTJENS – SCHIPHOL PROJECT DIRECTOR, NEW PIER AND TERMINAL

 ‘Modelling techniques have advanced quickly even in the past six years. It’s important because they are an aid to our end goal – to be the smartest and most passenger-centric airport in the world. The more people can experience and engage with the model, the more improvements we can identify before building starts. The result is really functional buildings for passengers which deliver high value at lower cost.’

At Schiphol, these new modelling techniques are vital in keeping the needs and experience of the passenger at the forefront of the design.

If you imagine these high-tech developments make the earliest modelling tools obsolete, you would be wrong. “I love the very traditional technique of a blank piece of paper and coloured pencils,” said Mr Geurtjens. “I think they will never disappear. We still use them in the very beginning of every project.”

Developments in modelling have come a long way ever since the first collaborations between Schiphol Airport and NACO. What will future presentations look like? Mr Geurtjens: “I anticipate a future in which the complexity of operations will ultimately require an integrated platform that brings all models together.”

GERARD VAN DER VEER, DIRECTOR AIRPORT BUILDING DESIGN, NACO, A COMPANY OF ROYAL HASKONINGDHV

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