Prior to the competition for its expansion, Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport was a very calm-looking, integrated facility with a single terminal building attached to an international finger pier pointing east, and a domestic finger pier pointing west.

The task of expansion set by the competition will double the airport’s capacity, resulting in a significantly more complex facility with two terminals and several finger piers. This will pose new challenges for passengers, whether arriving, departing, or in transit. In addition, there are new security check requirements and a desire for better options for commercial offers for travellers.

Oslo Lufthavn
HRTB, Dyrvik Arkitekter, Rambøll Norge

Oslo, Norge
140.000 m2
Konkurrenceforslag 2008

The architectural concept

The new buildings link to the existing ones with respect for the original airport and its idiom and materiality. Outwardly, the new terminal is proportioned in relation to the size of the extensive airfield. Internally, the proportions of the furniture, fittings, and space will be on a more human scale. Just as in any classicistic city, there is the large-scale clarity and orientation, and the smaller scale focuses on the human interaction at eye level with provisions such as cafés and shops.

In other words, the outer shape reflects the large scale of the airfield, while the inner features are designed on a human scale.

Construction principle

The relationship between large scale and small scale forms the concept of the large, curved grid-shell structures. The grid-shell structures form spaces by wrapping themselves around the airport’s indoor areas and cores, while making up both the façade and roof of Terminal 2 and Finger B. In the existing terminal the huge girders in the roof emphasise passengers’ movement between airside and landside going in the north and south directions. The passengers’ movement pattern in the new terminal is far more complex, involving several changes of direction. That is why the structures are positioned diagonally in the curved grid shells, which both support and encase the building volumes.

The huge grid shells are laminated wooden structures. This is a new interpretation of Norwegian construction practice and a development and adaptation of the architecture of the existing terminal. The spaces in the grid-shell structure are filled in with façade and roof elements with varying degrees of transparency. Some areas may be totally closed, others partially open, and others entirely open.


In conceptual terms, the folds around the new buildings are inspired by aviation. Aluminium and glass façades form a protective shield for the interior of the buildings, where the huge laminated wooden structures create a transition between the outer and inner facilities. These are crafted in light woods to create a friendly, Nordic-inspired setting for travellers.


The new airport buildings are designed as passive buildings with energy consumption of less than 15kWh/m2/year. Since construction, this goal has been outrun, but it was ambitious in 2008.