Beijing's new international airport terminal will be the gateway to the city as it welcomes athletes from around the world to the twenty-ninth Olympiad in 2008. The world's largest and most advanced airport building - not only technologically, but also in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and sustainability - it will be welcoming and uplifting. A symbol of place, its soaring aerodynamic roof and dragon-like form will celebrate the thrill and poetry of flight and evoke traditional Chinese colours and symbols.
Located between the existing eastern runway and the future third runway, the terminal encloses a floor area of more than a million square metres and is designed to accommodate an estimated 43 million passengers per annum, rising to 53 million by 2015. Although conceived on an unprecedented scale, its design expands on the new airport paradigm created by Stansted and Chek Lap Kok. In that sense it represents the crest of a learning curve. Designed for maximum flexibility to cope with the unpredictable nature of the aviation industry, like its predecessors, it aims to resolve the complexities of modern air travel, combining spatial clarity with high service standards. Public transport connections are fully integrated, walking distances for passengers are short, with few level changes, and transfer times between flights are minimised. Like Chek Lap Kok, the terminal is open to views to the outside and planned under a single unifying roof canopy, whose linear skylights are both an aid to orientation and sources of daylight - the colour cast changing from red to yellow as passengers progresses through the building.
The terminal building will be one of the worlds most sustainable, incorporating a range of passive environmental design concepts, such as the south-east orientated skylights, which maximise heat gain from the early morning sun, and an integrated environment-control system that minimises energy consumption and carbon emissions. In construction terms, its design optimises the performance of materials selected on the basis of local availability, functionality, application of local skills, and low cost procurement. Remarkably, it will have been designed and built in just four years.
Joint Venture: NACO Foster Arup
Architect: Foster + Partners
Local collaborating architect (LDI) BIAD (Beijing Institute of Architectural Design)
Airport Consultant: NACO
Structural and Mechanical
Landscape Architect: Michel Desvigne
Lighting Consultant: Speirs and Major
Architectural Technical Specifications: Schumann Smith