Expansion Terminal 3 by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects

Terminal 3 expansion, Copenhagen Airport

The number of passengers traveling to and from Copenhagen Airport has almost doubled in the past 20 years – from just over 16 million in 1998 to more than 30 million in 2018. This has lead the airport to initiate an 80,000-m2 expansion of Terminal 3, which in the future is expected to serve up to 40 million travelers. With a budget of €530 million, it must cement the airport’s position as one of the best in the world. Architecturally, the expansion will unite the existing qualities in simple grips ensuring that the new expansion is equally spectacular and simple.

The wavy ceiling of the new terminal expansion lets diffuse light into the vast space with a strong reference to clouds in the sky. Open, green light shafts with hanging plants serve as crevices in the transparent ceiling ensuring a simultaneous flow of direct sunlight and diffuse daylight. In the evening, the ceiling appears as a unified surface reflecting a starry sky. The three light shafts run through all floors and illuminate the new baggage claim area.

The heart of the terminal is an open, bright space with a large garden that provides passengers with a quick overview and a beautiful view towards the runways from the 270-meter long window section.

From the square runs a main flow with shops, and along the facade there is a square hall with restaurants, dining booths and shops. The three green light shafts become landmarks and meeting places and offer a look at the other floors.

A hanging column-free deck divides the room into two levels and continues the architecture of Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, making the extension a natural and integrated part of the airport.

Expansion Terminal 3 by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects

Wavy, translucent ceilings and floors in warm wood
The current floors and ceilings of the airport are central architectural elements. Hence, the new ceilings and floors in the expansion have received special attention so they naturally extend and unite existing expressions.

The existing terminal ceilings tell a story of timeless high quality and aesthetics whilst handling the many technical solutions. Central to the ceilings are:

  • The wavy ceilings in Vilhelm Lauritzens 1939 Terminal.
  • The white slats with the striking round skylights in Terminal 2 from 1960
  • The curved wings in Terminal 3 from 1998.


The three expressions unite in the new terminal ceiling, which becomes wavy and translucent with daylight that refers to the clouds. During the day, both diffuse and direct daylight flow into the room, and in the evening, the ceiling appears as a whole surface that reflects the starry sky. Skylights and green gardens mark holes in the clouds through transparent or completely open structures. It makes the ceiling a landmark and creates a high room quality both day and night.

Simultaneously, the baggage delivery also gets a new ceiling where undulating wood and skylights creates a present space.

Expansion Terminal 3 by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects

In addition to the ceilings, the floors are also a key element. The warm wooden floors are a characteristic of Copenhagen Airport and form a clear entity in the terminal underneath the ceiling.

Arriving on the first floor, wooden floors will greet you and create a comfortable and calm effect and an intuitive understanding of navigation.

An open baggage delivery with daylight and a garden
As part of the expansion, the baggage delivery of Copenhagen Airport will also illuminated by daylight from light shafts and the large garden room.

Individual waves in the wooden ceiling create a varying height that in turn creates a spaciousness on a scale close to the passenger. When passengers have claimed their baggage, they pass the large garden room, which, in conjunction with the wooden ceiling and the light shafts, creates a green and light space experience that reflects the change of seasons.

Expansion Terminal 3 by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects
Expansion Terminal 3 by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects
Copenhagen Airport
Aarsleff, COWI A/S, Zeso Architects
Lufthavnsboulevarden 6, DK-2770 Kastrup
80.000 m2
Under construction. 2023/2028