Did you know that Europe’s biggest airport may be placed in a very small town that for the moment only hoses one general store and a small school and church? The new airport is expected to open in 2027, but first architects will compete about the right to design it.

Europes biggest airport, Europe's biggest airport

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The concept by Grimshaw.
 Press Materials

This will become Europe’s biggest airport

  • Various architectural firms are currently competing to take charge of the official design, which will ultimately be decided in about one year from now.
  • Poland’s new airport, the Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK), is set to open in 2027.
  • The Polish government is planning a $19 billion airport near Warsaw to showcase the country’s growing economic clout, but skeptics say the project is unnecessary and too expensive.
  • From translucent roofs and leafy surroundings to Jewel Changi-inspired looks and an “Airport City” bigger than Manhattan, here are five design proposals for the CPK.

Europe's biggest airport

Source: Foster + Partners / Press Materials

Convenient airport location and a gateway to Asia

Located between Warsaw and Łódź, the CPK will initially serve roughly 45 million passengers per year, with the view to eventually serve up to 100 million passengers, according to Polish government documents. This would place the new transport hub within some of the busiest airports in the world – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was ranked as the biggest airport in the world in 2018, serving more than 107 million passengers, according to Business Insider.

The new airport hub will enable passengers from Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) to fly direct from Poland to almost anywhere in the world. The CEECs are the highest growth region for passenger traffic in Europe, with Slovenia and Estonia recording the highest passenger growth of 20% and 19% respectively over the course of 2017.

Warsaw airport itself recorded the highest growth in all over Europe over 2017, with passenger numbers increasing 23%. However, despite huge growth, the airport is still one of the smallest in Europe, handling around 15 million a year. It’s maximum capacity is just 20 million, and it is predicted to reach this capacity within the next four years, according to Simple Flying.

Europes biggest airport

Source: Foster + Partners / Press Materials

Exciting design plans

Among those who entered the five design concepts are Chapman Taylor, Foster+Partners, Grimshaw, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Benoy. Consisting of six levels, the terminal would be comprised of railway platforms, a stopover area for train passengers, arrivals, departures, business lounges, and a mall area with shops and restaurants. Chapman Taylor wants to build a transparent dome between the two roller rails using a glass structure to symbolize “eternal cohesion”.

Each of the levels should be inspired by elements of the Polish nature landscape: coastal, lakes, lowlands, highlands, valleys and mountains.

Grimshaw architects put forward the idea of an airport featuring a more of a “hub” feel.
Among other factors, the use of natural light, the reduction of the airport’s length, and the “stacking” of the terminals were at the core of Grimshaw’s design.

Source: Zaha Hadid Architects’ first concept. Press Materials

New airport in Poland – stupid idea?

Not everyone is happy about the new idea. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary calls the idea “stupid” and a “shiny cathedral in the middle of nowhere.” And the residents of Baranow have voted against the plan, according to Bloomberg. Officials say expanding Chopin makes little sense, because it’s inside Warsaw’s city limits, with hundreds of thousands of people living nearby.

Read also: Firenze Light Rail T2 now reaches airport