Bjarke Ingels Group, a Copenhagen and New York-based architectural firm, returns to Switzerland to complete the Zurich Airport’s largest dock – Dock A. The team wins the international two-stage design competition with their passenger experience and movement-based design proposal. According to the team’s vision, timber will define the entire dock’s floors, ceiling, and structure. Raumfachwerk, the team’s concept, is a flexible framework that allows spaces to adapt to the changing needs of traffic in the airport.

Zurich Airport became operational during the 1950s and stands as one of the most important aviation hubs in Europe. Consequently, the proposed design caters to the expected volume of passengers that will utilize the dock. Dock A will have two main areas, the central hub, and the pier. The central hub will include the shops and airport services for arriving and departing passengers. On the other hand, the pier will house the gates, waiting areas, and the fixed links connecting to the planes. A new air traffic control tower and immigration hall extension are also in place.

BIG partners with HOK as aviation architect, engineer Buro Happold, 10:8 architects, timber specialist Pirmin Jung, and aviation consultant NACO for this project. Together they produce a design of V-shaped timber columns for structural purposes that also gives individuality to the airport. Timber’s sustainability and prefabrication opportunities present the material as the best option. It also nods at Switzerland’s tradition of using wood for construction, creating a unique language from the locality.

‘ The striking structure is made from locally sourced timber, and the long sculptural body of the roof is entirely clad in solar shingles turning sunlight into a power source. A simple yet expressive design – rooted in tradition and committed to innovation – embodying the cultural and natural elements of Swiss architecture.’

Bjarke Ingels Group

PV panels will cover Dock A’s roof with integrated shading to minimize solar heat and maintenance. Water and air-based cooling and heating systems will be established to improve the building’s energy requirement. Moreover, the spaces in the new terminal will use daylight as a natural wayfinding system. A linear skylight will guide passengers toward the central hub that opens into the atrium, where all passengers converge. The atrium visually connects all the hubs spread across seven floors. Ultimately, the project’s well planned design is expected to be another significant milestone in Zurich Airport’s expansion.

Photos are from BIG, IIMIGO and Bucharest Studio.

Download this month's BLUPRINT magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]