The first airport by renowned architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, Terminal 3 at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in Guangdong, China, is now operational.
Won by international competition, the airport has undergone a remarkably rapid process of design and construction, completing within three years. Shenzhen Airport Terminal 3 is set to become an iconic landmark that will boost the economic development of Shenzhen, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.
Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co., the client, is so pleased with the striking design that it is taking the unusual step of trying to copyright it. The terminal is the largest single public building to be built to date in Shenzhen and encompasses 63 contact gates, with a further 15 remote gates and significant retail space. It will increase the capacity of the airport by 58%, allowing the airport to handle up to 45 million passengers per year.
The sculptural 500,000 sq.m. / 5,381,955 sq.ft (approx.) terminal, evokes the image of a manta ray and features a striking internal and external double ‘skin’ honeycomb motif that wraps the structure. At 1.5 km long, with roof spans of up to 80m, honeycomb shaped metal and glass panels punctuate the façade of the terminal allowing natural light to filter through. On the interior, the terminal is characterized by distinctive white conical supporting columns that rise to touch the roof at a cathedral-like scale.
“The focal point of the design is the concourse located at the intersection of the building.” says Studio Fuksas. “Consisting of three levels – departure, arrivals and services – they vertically connect to create full height voids, allowing natural light to filter from the highest level down to the lowest.”
“Studio Fuksas has created an interior, as striking and elegant as the exterior. The spatial concept is one of fluidity and combines two different ideas: the idea of movement and the idea of pause. Carefully considering the human experience of such environments, Studio Fuksas focused on processing times, walking distances, ease of orientation, crowding, and availability of desired amenities.”
“Stand-out features of the interior design include stylized white ‘trees’ that serve as air conditioning vents, and check-in ‘islands’, gates and passport-check areas with a stainless steel finish that beautifully reflect the honeycomb patterns from above. The honeycomb motif translates through into many aspects of the interior and at different scales – from the larger retail boxes to smaller 3D imprints in the wall cover.”
Studio Fuksas are engaged on two further phases of the airport extension, scheduled to complete in 2025 and 2035 respectively.
Project: Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, Airport Expansion Terminal 3
Location: Bao’an District, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
Dates: 2008 – 2013. International competition won in 2008 over finalists including Foster + Partners: (UK), Foreign Office Architects (UK), Gmp International (Germany), Kisho Kurokawa (Japan), Reiser+Umemoto (USA)
Size: 500,000 sq.m. / 5,381,955 sq.ft (approximately)
Architects: Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas
Interior design: Fuksas Design – internet-point, check-in ‘island’, security-check, gates, passport-check areas, shop box, baggage-claim ‘islands’, info-point, ventilation trees, signage, commercial desk and washrooms
Client: Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co., Ltd.
Developer: Shenzhen Planning Bureau; Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co., Ltd.
Contractor: China State Construction Engineering Corporation, Beijing
Structures, façade and parametric design: Knippers Helbig Engineering, Stuttgart, NY
Architect of record: BIAD (Beijing Institute of Architectural Design), Beijing
Lighting consulting: Speirs & Major Associates, Edinburgh, London
Materials: Steel with a concrete substructure. 52,000 tonnes of steel was used, with an additional 260,000 tonnes of reinforcement. It has won the ‘Steel Gold Award (National Quality Engineering)’.
Sustainability: The design has been optimised to make best use of natural ventilation and light. Photovoltaics will meet the electricity demand of T3, making about 950 million electricity units each year. Future photovoltaic generation is expected to reach a capacity of 10MW that will be used to support the electronic devices of the entire airport.
Cost: 734,000,000 Euros