The project was selected after a two-stage international competition that also saw entries from SOM, Foster + Partners, and Grimshaw Architects. “The backbone of the project is formed by a structure that is not just load bearing, but also defines and adapts the space, creates a unique atmosphere, and provides a distinctive identity true to its place and era,” Harry Gugger, professor of architecture at Laboratory Basel, said in a press release. Gugger acted as chairman of the jury for the competition, adding, “The jury was delighted and grateful to endorse such a groundbreaking project that will help to revive sustainable wood construction for great infrastructural projects.”
The new Dock A will be divided into two main areas: a seven-story central hub full of shops and restaurants that surround an expansive light-filled atrium and a pier where travelers will find waiting areas and coinciding gates. The central hub is expected to see a lot of movement, with all departing, arriving, and transferring passengers meeting and passing through stairs, escalators, and elevators.
“As airports grow and evolve, and as international guidelines and safety requirements change, airports tend to become more and more complex: Frankensteins of interconnected elements, patches and extensions,” Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of BIG, said in a press release. “For the new main terminal of Zurich Airport, we have attempted to answer this complex challenge with the simplest possible response: a mass timber space frame that is structural design, spatial experience, architectural finish, and organizational principle in one.”
The timber Dock A will welcome flights both from and outside of the Schengen Area, and is expected to open in 10 years.