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The striking roof creates a new visual identity

Redesign of Zurich Airport access areas, Zurich

An elegantly curved canopy links terminal buildings 1 and 2, offering Zurich Airport a new visual identity. The clear visual structure of the redesigned access areas also helps travelers find their way around.


Flughafen Zürich AG

Period of time





Beat Bühler




Zurich, Switzerland

The striking roof impressed the competition jury

Zurich Airport launched a competition to redesign the access areas in 2008. Zurich Airport launched a competition to redesign the access areas in 2008. The jury were impressed by our proposed solution: a 350-meter-long roof whose striking form and elegant appearance would become the calling card of Switzerland’s biggest airport. Much like a flight path, the shape of the roof guides travelers, guests and staff to the access areas and welcomes them before they enter the airport building.

Like the sharpened samurai sword that provided the inspiration for the design, today the roof over Zurich Airport’s entrance area gleams above the access road. The geometry of the curved roof presented us with a number of technical challenges. It needed to follow the course of the road while also remaining in harmony with the existing building façades. To accomplish this, we constructed a curve with a variable radius allowing it to conclude tangentially to the straight roof sections at either end. Complex construction calculations were required to achieve the desired effect and develop the ideal roof shape.

Clarity and uniformity for better orientation

Not only do the access areas create a visual identity for the airport, they also serve as an orientation system for travelers, guests and airport staff. Clear signaling is a key component of appealing architecture. Uniform road surfaces and clear road traffic markings make it easier for people to find their way around and help to smoothly «choreograph» foot and vehicle traffic even at peak travel times.

First and last impressions of Switzerland

The access areas provide every traveler with their first and final impressions of Switzerland.

The lighting concept is a key component of the access area redesign: during the day the roof is approachable and inviting and makes for an easier overview of the area. At night, the underside of the roof reflects the LED lighting, brightening the transit area and creating a pleasant atmosphere.

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