ZHA and Cox win Western Sydney Airport competition with leisure destination element
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ZHA and Cox win Western Sydney Airport competition with leisure destination element

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The design takes inspiration from the unique local flora of Western Sydney and its unique natural qualities, such as the Great Australian Light.
– David Holm

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and Cox Architecture have won an international competition to design the new Western Sydney airport in Australia, proposing both a passenger-focused experience and a leisure destination for locals.

The new AU$5.3b (US$3.6b, €3.3b, £2.8b) greenfield airport is aimed at helping to drive the growth of Sydney and its greater metropolitan area over the coming decades.

In addition to a design for the airport, ZHA and Cox have provided guidelines for its future expansion.

Their winning proposal combines smart design, technology and 24-hour service to provide "seamless travel experiences" for its users.

It is also designed for local people to use as a place to meet and shop even if they are not travelling, with retail, hospitality and public space elements on a public plaza outside and additional offerings inside.

Senator for Western Sydney Marise Payne said: "The iconic final design ensures that air travel will be accessible for locals, as well as locking in new opportunities for people who want to work, shop and meet at the terminal precinct."

The airport's design is contextualised by its locality, referencing the natural landscape and the cultural heritage of its indigenous inhabitants.

David Holm, director at Cox, explained: "The design takes inspiration from the unique local flora of Western Sydney and its unique natural qualities, such as the Great Australian Light. These spaces, colours and materials have been incorporated into the design to give the project an unmistakable regional identity."

Landscaped gardens outside the airport are the first experience of this for arriving passengers, also setting the tone for a design that is conceived to be relaxing for travellers before they have even entered the building.

Inside, vertical gardens will draw through the natural and calming elements of the design. Lighting and curved timber ceilings, meanwhile, will be used to help make wayfinding intuitive and unstressful.

Sustainability features will be built on a foundation of passive design, taking advantage of natural airflows, natural lighting, solar shading and water recycling.

The design competition received forty submissions in total. These were whittled down to a shortlist of five before the ZHA and Cox Architecture proposal was selected as the winner.

The airport is to be built over four stages, with the first, for handling up to 10 million passengers a year, to be completed by 2026. Western Sydney Airport is planned to be the largest international gateway to Australia by 2060.

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Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and Cox Architecture have won an international competition to design the new Western Sydney Airport in Australia, proposing both a passenger-focused experience and a leisure destination for locals.
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