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New sustainability models for airports

Image from RSHP: the new Aile Est at Geneva Airport

Future Cities Forum is looking at the sustainability and energy saving approaches to airports post the pandemic, where air travel is increasing now restrictions are ending.

The work that Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has been carrying out at the Aile Est (East Wing), Geneva Airport, is designed to meet the objective of delivering energy positive buildings with regards to energy consumption. It is is based on a collaborative approach with consultants forming the RBI-T consortium based in UK, France and Switzerland.

The building will rely on a holistic sustainable strategy consisting of the following elements: 7,000 meters square 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.

The RBI-T Allie Est design was selected from an OJEU competition launched in 2010 and was based on key principles including quality of the passenger space with an emphasis on natural daylight, a model for lasting development and modular construction.

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 final contract has encompassed the building's steel superstructure, cladding and entire fit-out and Aile Est officially opened to the public in December. One key concept of the East Wing design was to minimise internal structural elements to ensure great transparency and offer passengers a breathtaking view of the Jura mountains.

Graham Stirk, Senior Design Partner commented that 'each engineering component is finely crafted not unlike that of a beautiful Swiss watch', while Partner Stephen Barrett said 'this building possesses breath-taking clarity of intent. It's a straight line that transports the passenger, traversing the colours of the spectrum, underlining the mountains beyond.'


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