bjarke ingels group to introduce a new, light-filled 'dock A' for zurich airport

bjarke ingels group to introduce a new, light-filled 'dock A' for zurich airport

bjarke ingels group returns to switzerland


Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG presents its winning design for Zurich Airport’s ‘Dock A.’ The airport had first opened in the 1950’s and has since become one of the most important aviation hubs in Europe. After previous additions including Dock E, the Airside Center, and The Circle, an international two-stage design competition was held in 2020 to replace the current, aging Dock A.


The new Dock is expected to open in 10 years, and will include both Schengen and Non-Schengen gates, airside retail, lounges, offices, the new air traffic control tower, and an extension of the immigration hall. Upon its completion the team expects that the project will stand as the next milestone in the airport’s expansion. The project marks the group’s return to Switzerland, following its spiraling museum for Audemars Piguet (see designboom’s coverage here).

bjarke ingels zurich airportimage © Bucharest Studio |



a space frame flooded with daylight


The architects at Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG design Zurich Airport’s new Dock A with a robust, flexible structural framework known as ‘Raumfachwerk.’ The proposal is designed in celebration of the passenger experience, especially movement through the airport. Located adjacent to the existing Airside Center and Terminal 1, the new Dock A is defined by two main areas: the central hub with shopping, airport services for arriving and departing passengers and vertical circulation, and the pier with the gates, waiting areas and the fixed links connecting to the planes.


To enhance the passenger experience, the spaces within the new terminal use daylight as a natural wayfinding system. A linear skylight is created by pier’s unfolding roof and widens toward the central hub. This skylight opens up into the atrium where all departing, arriving, and transferring passengers meet. By locating the control tower in itsa center, the tower is experienced from the inside as a beacon that creates a sense of place, less like an airport, and more like a town square. 

bjarke ingels zurich airport
image © Bucharest Studio



Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG comments: ‘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.


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 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 to introduce a new, light-filled 'dock A' for zurich airport
image © Bucharest Studio



The roof of Zurich Airport’s new dock A will integrate an array of PV panels along with shading to reduce solar heat gain and maintenance requirements. Meanwhile a combination of water and air-based cooling and heating systems will improve the building’s energy demand.

bjarke ingels zurich airportimage © IMIGO


image © IMIGO

bjarke ingels group to introduce a new, light-filled 'dock A' for zurich airport
image © IMIGO


image © IMIGO


project info:


project title: Zurich Airport: Dock A

architecture: Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG | @big_builds

location: Zurich, Switzerland

status: winning competition entry, in progress

aviation architect: HOK

local architect: 10:8 

structural engineer: Buro Happold

structural engineer timber/building physics: Pirmin Jung Schweiz AG

aviation consultant: NACO

mechanical engineer: Haerter & Partner AG,

electrical engineer: TLP

construction management/BIM management/cost: B+P Baurealisation

fire protection: BIQS

retail strategy: Pragma

retail consultant: The Design Solution

visualizations: Bucharest Studio & IMIGO


partners-in-charge: Bjarke Ingels, Martin Voelkle
project leaders: Sören Grünert (Design Lead), David Holbrook (PA)
project manager: Simon Scheller
team: Agla Egilsdottir, Ahmad Tabbakh, Andrew Haas, Bernardo Schuhmacher, Bianca Blanari, Christian Salkeld, Cosmin Paduraru, David Holbrook, Don Chen, Dong-Joo Kim, Fabian Lorenz, Guillaume Evain, Gus Steyer, Hanqing (Amie) Yao, Hector Romero, Jaeho Park, James Donaldson, Jan Leenknegt, Jennifer Ng, Ji-Young Yoon, Juan Diego Perez, Luca McLaughlin, Margaret Tyrpa, Montre’ale Jones, Morgan Mangelsen, Oliver Thomas, Ololade Owolabi, Paul Clemens Bart, Pearl Cao, Ruo Wang, Ryan Henriksen, Samantha Pires, Sang Ha Jung, Sebastian Claussnitzer, Shu Zhao, Shuo Yang, Terrence Chew, Tom Lasbrey, Tore Banke, Tracy Sodder, Veronica Watson, Weronika Siwak, Zofia Bednarczyk, Sinam Hawro Yakoob
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