Nordic Office of Architecture has made a return trip to its original design of Oslo Airport, doubling the size of the terminal building. The firm has added 140,000 sq m to its 1998 building, increasing annual passenger capacity from 19 million to 30 million, with a further potential to boost that by another 6 million. Through clever layout, Nordic has managed to keep the walking distance from check-in to departure gate down to just 500m. The architects have done this by stacking domestic and international zones at the new 300m long north pier.

Sustainability was high on the agenda, hence cladding the new pier in timber sourced from Scandinavian forests, the use of recycled steel, and the mixing of concrete with volcanic ash. ‘Airports are naturally quite high energy consuming buildings, and the aviation industry still is struggling with high CO2 emission levels of aircrafts,’ says Nordic partner Christian Henriksen. ‘The industry is looking into electric-powered aircrafts, but this will take another 15 to 20 years to realise. So for now the emphasis had to be on what can be achieved through the design of the terminal.’

Nordic is currently working on ten other airport projects. Photography: Knut Ramstad

Oslo Airport’s most novel energy-saving idea is its snow harvesting system, which is billed as a first. Winter snow that falls on airside areas will be gathered up and stored in an on-site depot, and used as a coolant in the summer. ‘This was an obvious approach as snow and low temperatures are common in Norway, and are a part of our lives,’ Henriksen adds.

Nordic, which is headquartered in Oslo and has London and Copenhagen outposts, has all its fingers in the airport pie: of its ten live airport projects, Bergen’s new terminal is the next to complete later this year. Istanbul New Airport – set to be world's biggest– follows that in 2018.

RELATED TOPICS: NORWEGIAN ARCHITECTURE, TRANSPORT