The largest and newest dock of the Zurich Airport will be completely made of wood. Zurich, known as the gateway of Switzerland, provides one of the most important airports for Europe. Dock A will showcase its smart, sustainable design and will serve as a gateway to a better tomorrow.

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A large overhead skylight with the terminal's control tower in the center.

Starting in 2020, Zurich Airport held an international competition to see who would have the honor of designing the new Dock A. Bjarke Ingels Group, HOK, 10:8 architects, Buro Happold, Pirmin Jung and NACO came together to collaborate on this project. The team’s winning green design is expected to open in the next 10 years. The space includes gates, retail areas, lounges, offices and a new air traffic control tower.

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An aerial view of Dock A highlighting its length and modern design.

At the heart of the design is “Raumfachwerk,” a concept that involves strong and flexible framework. The Swiss architecture flows from one area to another. Such a design makes sure everything flows, but there are distinct areas within it.

The exterior of Dock A's sustainable design.

Meanwhile, solar shingles cover the whole roof. They create clean energy that powers the structure. Where possible, floor-to-ceiling windows brighten the inside space with daylight. An atrium also connects all seven floors of the structure.

Floor-to-ceiling windows with timber structures overseeing planes.

Timber is the main material in the floors, ceilings and walls. In addition, V-shaped columns support weight on the system’s frame. The team’s design pays homage to the tradition of building with wood in Switzerland.

A comfortable, cozy lounge for waiting passengers in an airport.

What’s more, integrated shading reduces solar heat gain. A water and air-based cooling and heating system helps lower energy usage in the building.

Overall, wood has been sustainable for thousands of years. But construction discoveries such as concrete and steel replaced the primary use of wood. These discoveries also changed the way the world looks. Now, designs like this could start to change the world back to a world that’s friendlier toward nature and more pleasing overall.


Images via Bucharest Studio, Imigo and BIG