Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam has announced they have selected KAAN Architecten’s sleek modernist design for their new terminal set to open in 2023, thirty years since the last expansion. The new terminal will allow 14 million more passengers to travel through Schiphol per year, helping the hub become a more powerful global contender. The new terminal will follow Schiphol’s existing design with a span of interconnected gates, making it possible to retain its innovative “one terminal” concept.

KAAN Architecten said, “The most inspiring architectural and planning DNA at Schiphol for our design team is that of the 1967 Departures Hall. DNA which is characterised by abundant daylight, simplicity of space and a substantial spatiality. It is particularly striking that materials and construction are so minimally conspicuous. The repetitions that defines the space – the row of columns, the information panels, the ticket kiosks, the façade ribs, the ceiling lamps – all contribute to a calming rhythm. This is the true essence of Schiphol’s DNA: functionality is a priority – an exacting rather than bare functionality – it is exacting in how the functionality embeds comfort, daily ease of use and a suitability of purpose. This leads to a natural simplicity.


The design may look familiar, as it is very similar to the designs of Frankfurt Am Main’s Terminal 3 concept, currently under construction.

Other design entries
Capital Programme director Bernardo Gogna on behalf of the jury stated “We, at the Capital Programme, were overwhelmed by the craftsmanship, the passion and the quality shown by all the design teams. It was an honour to receive them and to be inspired by their designs. We would like to thank all the participating design teams sincerely for their incredible effort and dedication. We also want to thank them for their contribution to the debate on the future of Schiphol and on aviation terminals.”


UNStudio together with HOK and Arup
(Innovative thinker: Allegro INNovations, The Netherlands)
“The overall ambitions behind the evolution of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol have always been to enable the best airport processes and to create the best passenger experience. Whereas airport processes are mostly driven by innovation in technology, the passenger experience still remains a human experience and is for a large part about service, hospitality and creating a sense of place… We have introduced a hierarchy within the architecture that combines a sheltering artificial sky with microclimates that physically contribute to passenger experience through their materiality and where building technology and systems are fully integrated within. The design of the exterior expression of the new terminal maintains the horizontal, transparent and no-nonsense character of Schiphol Airport and as such follows through on the concept of “spectacular simplicity”


S.O.M. together with ADPI
(Innovative thinker: John Curran, United Kingdom)
“Our proposals for Schiphol look to create a welcoming, safe and familiar atmosphere. As such, the narrative which underpins our designs alludes to archetypal housing, combining warmth and humanity with technology and safety to create the feeling of coming home – the ‘Schiphol Huis’.

Our use of wood, a new material for Schiphol, is forward-thinking and sustainable, whilst giving the terminal a human scale which, coupled with filtered natural daylight, creates a feeling of wellbeing. Our design concept proposes a new approach to interiors for Schiphol, referencing nature and horticulture to create a calming interior landscape which can be carried back into the existing terminals.

The leading roofline for our proposed terminal references Schiphol’s existing horizontals, while allowing the distinctive roof form of the Schiphol Huis to be articulated beyond the façade. The whole design proposes to be carbon neutral and energy positive.”


MVRDV with KPF and Meinhardt
(Innovative thinkers: Gehl, Denmark & Northernlight, The Netherlands)
“Instead of a generic ‘airportiness’, the new terminal building will have a sense of place, that echoes the Dutch way of life, culture and landscape. First and foremost bringing the Netherlands back to the Airport. For transferring passengers a visit to the new terminal should be as close as it gets to visiting the Netherlands. Along with the presence of green, natural light and air, qualitative outdoor space and warm materials it creates a comfortable and healthy airport. This basis is taken one step further to ease the mind, create a vibrancy and a sense of ‘wonder’, by adding specific squares (Nature, Activity, Network, Dutch, Polder) which accompany the passenger as they pass through the sequence of the travelling process. The new terminal will not impress by sheer shiny surfacess, but by content.”


O.M.A. together with WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff
(Innovative thinker: Trevor Paglen, Germany)
“Our terminal – the Next Terminal – aims to express the airport’s one remaining certainty: movement. The next terminal is a reflection, not of things, but of relations between things. A celebration of the state of flux, true to the nature of terminals as infrastructures: facilitating not only circulation of passengers and airplanes, but of data, telecommunications, capital, commerce and energy. The next terminal reveals all.”

“A series of parallel tubes simultaneously act as a roof and a series of connections, annulling any distinction between the two, creating both spaces to pass through and spaces to pass under. The tubes create a building with two radically different appearances. From the side (the approach of the terminal complex) they form a series of (classical) arches, from the front (the actual drop off) they appear as a series of stark, horizontal (modernist) lines.”

“The Next Terminal defies a definitive configuration. It is designed to solicit further evolution and adaptation, it makes the point that, when it comes to an airport, the only finite state possible is the state of anticipation.”

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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