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Sat June 25 2022

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Zurich Airport chooses timber for new pier

17 Jun The winning design for Zurich Airport’s new Dock A will be largely built of wood.

The design is intended to set new standards in terms of sustainable terminal buildings.

The ‘Raumfachwerk’ winning team is led by architect Bjarke Ingels. In addition to his firm of architects, BIG, based in Copenhagen/New York, the team includes US-based HOK, which specialises in airport buildings. Also in the team is Zurich-based architect 10:8. Engineering and consultancy firm Buro Happold  and Pirmin Jung, a Swiss engineering firm specialising in timber construction.

Construction of the winning project, ‘Raumfachwerk’ is set to start in 2030. The investment in the new Dock A, including a new tower and dock base, is put at about CHF700m (£585m).

After over 35 years in operation, Dock A has now reached the end of its life and has to be replaced. The eleven-member jury from a range of fields, chaired by Basel-based architect Harry Gugger, chose Raumfachwerk project – from ten submissions. “The ‘Raumfachwerk’ project was the most impressive, in particular in terms of sustainability, operations and the economic aspects, but also as regards urban planning and the architecture,” said Andreas Schmid, chairman of the board of directors of Flughafen Zürich.

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The new Dock A will be built largely from sustainable wood on the passenger levels. The whole surface of the new dock’s roof and the dock base will be used for photovoltaics, covering around two thirds of the dock’s annual electricity requirement. The new building will thus make a major contribution to Flughafen Zürich AG’s CO2 reduction strategy.

“For Zurich Airport's new Dock A, we tried to meet the complex global challenge of Co2 reduction with the simplest possible solution: A space framework made of solid timber that is structure, spatial experience, architectural design and organizing principle all in one,” said Bjarke Ingels, founder and director of BIG. “The simple yet expressive design – rooted in tradition and committed to innovation - embodies the cultural and natural elements of Swiss architecture.”

The current Dock A will remain operational during construction of the new Dock A, as around one third of all passengers depart or arrive there. Once the new dock has been built to the north of the current Dock A, operations will be transferred to it. The current Dock A will then be dismantled.

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