AirSpace: The Circle at Zürich AirPort
Zurich, Switzerland

Asymptote's design for a new commercial, cultural, retail and hospitality component for the Zurich Airport (AirSpace) is to be located directly across from the main air terminals of Zurich Airport. Conveniently connected to global hub that is used by over 22 million travelers each year the complex is a destination for a sophisticated international clientele as well as local residents. The project includes wide range of diverse functions such as of luxury commerce, state-of-the-art medical facilities, cultural venues, hotels as well as higher education and business facilities. Asymptote's proposal integrates contemporary design with a highly refined aesthetic of engineered precision in keeping with the sophistication of Swiss culture. In contrast to the surrounding air terminal buildings, Asymptote's design for AirSpace is a coherent assembly of architectural components that projects a strong identity within the airport precinct. The scheme is comprised of four distinctive towers sitting above a three-story plinth.


External courtyards separate the towers yet inter-connected by the 'AirSpace', a dramatic contiguous horizontal interior public space located on the upper most level of the plinth. This brightly colored interior space is a key conceptual driver and signature element of the overall design that is expressed both on the interior and exterior. On the interior this continuous horizontal datum is inflected by vertical atrium spaces that provide visual and physical connection between the lower plinth levels and the towers above. The AirSpace is a transparent layer; it mediates between the air terminal buildings on the one side and an accessible lush green space on the other, providing visitors with an alternative environment to that of the mechanized space of the airport. 


The taught and elegant articulation of the towers is inspired by the powerful horizon surrounding the city of Zurich, with its snow-capped mountains and open sky. The curvature of the towers' glass facades and dichroic louvers play against the changing quality of the light and the panorama of white jagged peaks. Asymptote’s design for AirSpace is a contemporary architectural solution that anticipates the overlap of global commerce, extra-urban zones and airport infrastructure. These new urban environments are more than transportation hubs that merge global traffic and local conditions; they are opportunities to create new and significant spaces for the 21st century city.

Date: 2009


Size: 115,000 sqm


Location:  Zurich, Switzerland


Architect: Asymptote Architecture


Design: Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture


Project Director: Constantin Doehler


Design Team:  Danny Abalos, Keehyun Ahn, Sebastian Andia,

Du Ho Choi, Armand Graham,


Oliver Kienzi, Blake Altshuler, Josh Dannenberg, John Guida


Claudia Friesz, Mar Goberna-Perez, Stephanie Harroch, Janine Hartleb,

Robert Hendrick, Zach Hines, Seok Hyeong Hong, Makiko Nukaga,

Byungjeen Seo, Yujin Sim, Difeng Zhou


Client: Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) 


Local Architect: Itten-Brechbuhl


Structural Engineer: Thornton Thomasetti


Lighting Engineer: Bartenbach LichtLabor


Façade Consultant: Billings Design Associates