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Western Sydney airport design set to turn heads

The first preview of Sydney’s new airport has been unveiled with architects appointed to design the state-of-the-art terminal precinct at Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.

Western Sydney Airport chief executive officer Graham Millett said an architectural team consisting of London-based Zaha Hadid Architects and Cox Architecture in Sydney was selected from more than 40 entrants as the winners of the terminal precinct design competition.

“The brief was to design an airport that the people of Western Sydney can be proud of and provide a real sense of place that pays tribute to the natural landforms, history and features of Greater Sydney,” Mr Millett said.

“While the exterior of the terminal complements the natural landscape beautifully, we’ve always said that our focus was on the customer journey within the terminal and that really shines through in these concept designs.

“When passengers arrive, they’ll be greeted by a combination of landscaped gardens within a grand public plaza that will offer a great choice of retail, dining and entertainment.

“When passengers enter the terminal they will be immersed in a uniquely Western Sydney International experience with soaring timber ceilings and stunning vertical gardens designed to provide an inviting and relaxing start to their journey.

“The layout of the terminal will come together with technology and outstanding customer service to give passengers a reliable, fun and stress-free airport experience.”

Sustainability was another key criterion and the winning design stood out for its expansive use of passive design, taking advantage of natural airflows and lighting and efficient solar shading.

ZHA project director Cristiano Ceccato said it was an honour to have been selected for the project and that the “design is an evolution of Australian architecture past, present and future”.

COX project director David Holm said the design took inspiration from “the unique local flora of Western Sydney and the great Australian light to create an unmistakable regional identity”.

Zaha Hadid Architects designed the new Beijing Daxing International Airport and the Navi Mumbai International Airport. Cox Architecture are designing the Victoria Cross Station in Sydney and Western Sydney’s new Sydney Coliseum Theatre.

The winning concept passed a range of value-for-money and technical reviews before the final decision was made by a panel of some of Australia’s most renowned architects including Yvonne von Hartel, Peter Poulet and Kim Crestani.

Mr Millett said the architects will now consult with groups across the community as they refine the initial concept design.

“We’re pleased the architectural team has already engaged Western Sydney University students and local Dharug community members during the initial concept design development and we’ll now be working closely with key government, industry and community stakeholders as we further refine and enhance the concepts to arrive at a final design.”

Western Sydney International will open in 2026 initially catering for up to 10 million passengers per year.

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