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UK big-hitters dominate shortlist for £2.9bn Sydney airport

Site of Australia’s new Western Sydney International Airport

Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, RSHP and Pascall+Watson are among five teams vying to design a terminal for Australia’s new Western Sydney International Airport

The four UK practices, working with local partners, were selected from more than 40 expressions of interest to the two-stage international competition.

A team featuring US giant Gensler and Singapore’s Surbana Jurong completes the shortlist. The finalists will now draw up conceptual visions for a passenger terminal and transport interchange.

Planned to open in 2026, the enormous 1,780ha project will create a second airport for Sydney capable of handling 10 million passengers a year in its first phase. It will be named after Australian aviation pioneer Nancy-Bird Walton.

Later phases will see the Arup-masterplanned airport, located 44km west of the city centre on former farmland (pictured), expanded to host up to 82 million annual passengers by 2060.

The shortlisting comes less than a month after Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and RSHP were among 17 winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize to issue an unprecedented rallying cry for the profession to take action on the ‘twin crises’ of climate change and biodiversity loss.

London firm Grimshaw – which also signed up to the Architects Declare manifesto – revealed its masterplan for the contentious expansion of Heathrow Airport last week.

The world’s largest airport, the £9 billion Daxing airport in Beijing designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, is due to open later this year.

Bidders in the Western Sydney International Airport competitionwere required to have experience of at least three major airport schemes within the past 10 years, reported ArchitectureAU. A winner will be announced later this year.

The shortlist

  • Designinc and Foster + Partners
  • Architectus, Gensler, SAA Architects and Surbana Jurong
  • Cox Architecture and Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Woods Bagot and RSHP
  • Hassell and Pascall+Watson

Readers' comments (3)

  • This is great news.

    Given the climate emergency declarations, I'm looking forward to seeing all those proposals for zero carbon international airports.

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  • If these new mega airports become 'surplus to requirements' they might just find themselves being used as internment centres for unwanted immigrants, or - in the case of Mr Schumacker's Beijing confection - people with inconvenient ideas.

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  • What was the point of signing up to “Architects Declare”? These architects should be struck off the list they helped to create, or if they had sincere principles they should have declined to sign the declaration in the first place... Environmental lightweights.

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