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New images give travellers a sneak preview of what they can expect from Sydney’s new A$5.3 billion airport when it opens for business in 2026.

Zaha Hadid Architects and Cox Architecture have won the international competition to design the new Western Sydney Airport (WSA).

The ZHA/COX team, which will now act as master architect for the project, was selected from a broad field of forty national and international applicants that was narrowed to five selected design competitors.

The new greenfield airport in Sydney’s region will be named after the famous Australian aviator, Nancy-Bird Walton, and feature a giant public plaza with vertical gardens and timber ceilings that is said to have been inspired by an Australian forest.

Destination in its own right

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said the designs for the terminal showed the once-in-a-generation infrastructure project coming to life.

“This is set to be the largest gateway to Australia and these designs are another step to making it a reality,” he said.

While airport CEO, Graham Millett, described the plans as “the creation of a true 21st century airport for a 21st century city”.

Adding: “We wanted something that is calming for people and a place they want to visit. So, it’s not just an airport for passengers to come and go, it’s an airport that’s designed to be a destination in its own right, as is Singapore Changi, for example.”


Demand driven future development

With the population of the city’s greater metropolitan area set to reach nine million people by 2040, and forecasts predicting that traffic demand in Sydney will grow to 74 million passengers per annum by 2033 and up to 120mppa by 2050, the airport is certainly needed.

If all goes to plan, Western Sydney International Airport will be built in four separate phases, beginning with an initial stage of 10 million passengers per annum by 2026, with further increments up to 82mppa, making it the largest international gateway to Australia by 2060.

As master architect, ZHA/COX will provide an overarching design for the entire airport precinct including design guidelines for future expansion.

At the same time, the team will prepare the design documents for the execution of the first phase of the new Terminal Precinct.

Design inspiration

Zaha Hadid Architect’s project director, Cristiano Ceccato, said: “The design is an evolution of Australian architecture past, present and future. It draws inspiration from both traditional architectural features such as the veranda, as well as the natural beauty of the surrounding bushland.”

Cox project director, David Holm, noted: “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.”

Earthworks for the new airport are expected to start early next year on a 1,780 hectare site in Badgerys Creek, around 50km west of Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD).

A federally funded project, the airport will be built and operated by 100% owned government business enterprise, Western Sydney Airport (formerly WSA Co).


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