Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Geneva Airport, Aile Est

Date
2011-ongoing

Client
Genève Aéroport

Location
Geneva, Switzerland

Construction Cost
£250 million

Total Area
40 000 m²

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Overview

The Aile Est (East wing) project represents an important improvement for Genève Aéroport in terms passenger comfort and flexibility of its operation.

It will enable Genève Aéroport to strengthen its position in the Central Europe region as well as acting as a gateway to the city of Geneva. The new world-class passenger facilities will replace existing facilities that were built for temporary use in the mid-1970s. The Aile Est will serve Non-Schengen flights, in particular, medium and long haul carriers. Six out of seven of the gates will be contact-stands designed to accommodate code C/D/E and F aircrafts. Four of the contact-stands will be “MARS” stands designed to serve two aircraft at once.

The Aile Est consists of a "Processor" with immigration and emigration passport control booths and Non-Schengen departure and arrival gates with the capacity to accommodate airline lounges at mezzanine level.

The project is based on a collaborative approach with consultants forming the RBIT consortium being based in primarily three countries; UK, France and Switzerland. It is designed to meet the objective of delivering an energy positive building in regards to energy consumption. In order to reach this objective, the building will rely on a holistic sustainable strategy consisting of the following elements: approximately 4 000 m² of photovoltaic panels on the roof, 110 geothermal piles for heating and cooling, high-performance glazed facades with solar protection guaranteeing a low dependency on artificial lighting, detailed analysis of thermal performance to eliminate cold-bridges, energy-efficient chilled ceilings throughout, LED lighting strategy with responsive control systems and low water consumption using methods such as rainwater harvesting.

Concept

The RBIT Aile Est design was selected from an OJEU competition launched in 2010. The winning design was based on ten key principles:

The desire for a strong image
The quality of the passenger space with an emphasis on
natural daylight
Maximum transparency
A model for lasting development
Evolutionary building with long-term adaptability

Flexibility in term of passenger flows
An airfield free of constraints
Unification of the landside and airfield campus
Modular construction
An efficient construction methodology based on prefabrication

Design

A single linear horizontal volume as seen from the airside is a key aspect of the Aile Est’s distinctive image. By placing vertical circulation for departing and arriving passengers within the main volume in the form of “circulation valves”, the airside façade is continuous and interrupted only by the air-bridges to the aircraft. The lack of circulation towers on the airside elevation also facilities excellent views of the airfield for departing and arriving passengers.

The extruded rhomboid of the Aile Est is 19m deep by 10m high and floats 6m above apron level. It extends 520m between its east and west gable elevations.

The building’s arrangement derives from a number of constraints. Due to the limited distance from the runway and the prescribed dimensions of the taxiways and the aircraft stands, the building has the unusual feature of being lifted off the ground to allow for the head-of-stand road to lie directly under the building.

The building is set out on a long-span 20 x 20m module with four modules allowed for each stand. The external steel portal at 20m spacing and internal long-span trusses are visible and carefully articulated to express the load paths.

The space available to bring services and escape stairs to ground and also to connect with the basement service room is restricted to a 5 metre strip to the landside of the service road. This manifests in the distinct legible volumes of the stair and service cores every 80m which clearly delineate between these separate service components and served space of the extruded volume.

To maximise daylight to a neighbouring building to the landside and to eliminate the risk of glare from the fully glazed façade facing the airfield the building leans at 26 degrees to the vertical. The passenger flow takes advantage of the resulting geometry such that arriving passengers walk off the air bridges directly into a vertical “valve” and then join an arrival corridor that runs longitudinally along the airside façade. Departing passengers enjoy fantastic close-up views of the aircraft on stand, the airfield and runway with a back-drop of the Jura Mountains to the north.

The material palette has been selected for its durability, low maintenance and to provide a calm, consistent background to passenger movement. Transparent, fire-rated glazed partitions are generally used to separate passenger flows thus maximising natural daylight and assisting way-finding. The floor finish is granite and back-painted glass panels are applied to the limited number of vertical surfaces that are not glazed. Powder-coated chilled ceilings and select back-painted glazing panels are colour-coded by gate to further assist passengers’ orientation along the pier.

Construction

The construction of the East Pier consists of four tranches of work which form four separate contracts. Two of these stage have been completed, one which is underway and the largest part is pending, subject to signature of contract.

Enabling Works – November 2012 to July 2013

“Route Douaniere” - August 2013 to May 2015
This infrastructure project consisted of a 7m deep, 300m long concrete basement section for the eastern half of the site. The key aspect of the design was placing underground the “Route Douaniere” (Customs Road) in the form of a vehicle tunnel. This road which extends to the French border allows passengers to access the French Sector of Geneva airport without having to travel through Switzerland.

“BAT 1” – April 2016 to December 2017
This second infrastructure project extended the basement concrete shell of the RD project the remaining 300m to the west to interface with the existing Terminal 1.

“BAT 2” – April 2017 to December 2020

This final contract encompasses the building’s steel superstructure, cladding and entire fit-out. Subject to the signature of contract, the first portal frame should arrive on site at the end of 2017.

Data

Key Facts

Date
2011-ongoing

Client
Genève Aéroport

Location
Geneva, Switzerland

Construction Cost
£250 million

Area
Total Area
40 000 m²

Co-Architect
Atelier Jacques Bugna SA

Structural Engineer
Ingérop & T-Ingénierie SA

Services Engineer
Ingérop

Lighting Consultant
Speirs & Major Associates

Wayfinding Consultant
Mijksenaar

Acoustic Consultant
Architecture & Acoustique SA

Public Address Consultant
Bien Entendu

Facade Consultant
Arcora

Fire Consultants
Swissi SA & Exova

Team

Dennis Austin

Daniel Bazo

Pietro Bodrio

Andy Bryce

Finbar Charleson

Pablo Codesido

Sam Coulton

Margot Courtemanche

Kelly Darlington

Isabelle David

Laurence Day

Philip Dennis

Ainhoa Diaz

Steven Dijkhuzen

Mike Fairbrass

Fernanda Fiuza

David Flook

Tobi Frenzen

Mark Gorton

Jan Guell

Lennart Grut

Will Jefferies

Manuel Jimenez Garcia

Mathias Koester

Kinga Koren

Dirk Krolikowski

Dzidzor Kwaku

Adam Lampon

Stephen Light

Tim Mason

Jon Mercer

Cris Mitry

Colin Moriarty

Jack Morton-Gransmore

Shane Parker

Douglas Paul

Laura Penman

Richard Rogers

Francis Roper

Michael Rudko

Jack Sardeson

Michael Scheuvens

Jonathan Schofield

Misha Smith

Kristina Tafa

Angela Tobin

James White

Andrew Yek

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