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Scallop Sea Shell

Proposed New Integrated Airport Terminal Building at Vir Savarkar Airport, Port Blair


SacllopSea Shell

Born from the churning of the sea :  a symbol of nature’s grace in growth, expansion, and renewal.

Visitors to the scenic locales of Port Blair can expect a visual treat soon when they land at the city’s new Vir Savarkar Airport. Constructed by Pune-based architectural engineering company, Construction Catalysers Pvt. Ltd using steel supplied by Tata Steel.

The design of the airport aims to reflect the spirit and vibrancy of the tourists’ paradise that Port Blair is, the inherent nature of the Andaman Nicobar Islands themselves and the very essence of the place – an Island.



Construction Catalysers handled detail engineering of connection, construction planning, fabrication & erection of terminal building envelope i.e., support steel structure & cable net glazing wall.


The Form

“A play of lines and surfaces and a point of conglomeration, generating eccentricity in the formal planning, draws the mind in its direction to help the viewer discover the exposed structural elements and aesthetics achieved in its detailing – something one wouldn’t have discovered without this play of lines and surfaces,” exhort the structural designers. In nature, apart from the omniscience of the element of ‘rhythm,’ another element that exists is the difference of texture. Every space sport a unique texture and every object placed within that space features it too. The prevalent natural elements inspired the form of the structure that believes in contrasting and complimenting colours, forms, and volumes to answer the question of texture. Bright colours, reminding of the abundant tropical flora and fauna of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, contrast the downcast atmosphere prevailing during the monsoon season. The warm hues set against the cool colour scheme of the backdrop – the immense landscape of the Islands and the ocean – enlivens the space. The proposed future expansion of the airport stresses on dissimilar yet complementing forms and encourages the flowing lines of the organic design.


The Structure

The structure spans across the length of the airport, the structural elements accentuating the longitudinal planning, making a bold expression of design and engineering. For erecting the structure, while ensuring barrier-free spaces beneath, steel trusses stretching over a span of 230m x 90m were designed to be supported only at the periphery by structural steel columns. The slender sections achieved in steel further reduce the total structural dead load as well as the cost of execution.

A central steel arc supports eleven trusses on either side. It is envisaged that this structural element would house ducts to conduct storm water drains, electrical conduits and other service lines, which would further be distributed along the trusses making it efficient system for services distribution and reducing the complexities of service maintenance. The triangular steel truss supports the structural shelter as well as the glass sky light resting over it. It helps the entry of sufficient day light curbing down the amount of electricity consumed to the light the interiors.


Structural Aspects

It is a free-standing column free shell structure 230m x 90m inspired by seashell. Constructing such a large span steel structure at remote location like Andaman was a challenge by itself in various ways. While fabrication was done at various inland locations & transported by ship from Chennai port to Port Blair. Even transporting special crane in parts & assembling at site for facilitating erection of large space trusses was a project by itself. After crane deployment each truss weighing at 150 tons each & 115m in span was assembled in a specific sequence.



A high quality of workmanship and precision is expected in the installations on site as a set of skilled engineers and fabricators would be responsible for overseeing the execution of the structure. The trusses and steel columns would be executed at workshop and directly assembled and installed on site, prompting fast progress of work from other subcontracts and smooth coordination between various stages of the actual construction.

The proposed new airport building at Vir Savarkar Airport, Port Blair is expected to raise the standards of airport designs. As an evolving structure system, it is an initiative-taking design, responsive to the immediate environment and sensitive to the function. It is indeed the ultimate resemblance to nature.


“Citing the iconic design concept of large span envelop for an airport building , components and subassemblies of building envelop structure are heavy and large . It was inevitable to deploy large 400 ton crawler crane to erect such components . Logistics of transport to Andaman and erection of it at the location was challenging . Each truss was weighting 100 to 150 tons.Component designs was very demanding on fabrication detailing And manufacturing process , like extremely heavy plate and large section bending , Cast steel components . Kiang curved seams of SAW welding processes etc. Weather for Site location allowed only 6 months of clear working in a year due to severe and intermittent rains .

As Andaman do not have required skilled manpower  allManpower had to be arranged from main land and commuted by only air travel. To top this all work was interrupted no. Of times due to lock down And COVID  infections to working personnel . Through the Maze of all difficulties Steel structure of unique design is completed and hopefully will add one more jewel in the crown of Modern India infrastructure.”

Dhananjay Dake, Creative Director, Construction Catalysers Pvt. Ltd




Client – (AAI) Airport Authority of India

Main contractor – Shapoorji &Pallonji Construction Pvt. Ltd.

Architect – D. K. Sharma &Associates, Delhi

Steel Construction – Construction Catalysers Pvt. Ltd. Pune

PMC – Construction Catalysers Pvt. Ltd. Pune

Steel Suppliers – TATA Steel, SAIL, etc.

Steel Tonnage: 5600 tons

3100 tons of plate structures ,

2500 tons of hollow  TATAStructura in this is @ 1000 tons


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