The Zurich International Airport was expanded with a new 27 gate Midfield Terminal. The goal of the Airport Authority was to achieve the most progressive ecological airport building in Europe.
The architectural concept is based on an economy of means. Appearance and economic aspects reinforce one another. The compact volume as well as the selection of basic materials contribute to minimal investment costs and a straightforward aesthetic. Whatever could be avoided was eliminated throughout the development of the project. The stripped down approach, of exposed surfaces and minimal layers, requiring of each material and assembly multiple functions, contributes to a reduction of resources.
A significant component of the project is the integration of environmental control systems. Energy efficiency is emphasized through the use of renewable resources. The structural foundation piles allow the stable ground temperature to cool and heat the building. Accordingly, no additional air conditioning nor heating systems are required. The glazed long facades form a thermal buffer zone, climatically protecting the buildings interior.
Photovoltaic cells within the shading panels of the roof structure generate solar energy. Rain water is collected on the roof and used as grey water for toilets. The entire roof is landscaped, providing water retention and minimizing the load on site drainage systems. Landscape materials include seasonal planted areas as well as crushed recycled glass gravel.