Norman Foster & Partners
The world's largest building and most advanced airport, the new terminal offers an unparalleled traveling experience, not only technologically, but also in terms of operational efficiency, passenger comfort, sustainability and access to natural light.
Comprising three connected, light-filled volumes - T3A, B and C - the simple, symmetrical diagram fans out at either end to accommodate the arrivals and departure halls for T3A, processing terminal and domestic gates, and T3B, international gates.
/Lord Foster, Foster + Partners
A symbol of place, its soaring aerodynamic roof and its dragon-like form celebrate the thrill and poetry of flight. Its gold roof resonates with the Forbidden City, while the striking interior palette of red through orange to yellow evokes traditional Chinese colors.
The satellite T3C, domestic gates, occupies the centre of the
diagram. This arrangement is an efficient means of maximizing the
perimeter, so increasing the capacity for aircraft stands, while
maintaining a highly compact and sustainable footprint.
Although the length from north to south is three and a quarter kilometers, the visual links between the three elements are maintained by strong sight lines as well as visual connections between the lower level and an open mezzanine level above.
All spaces are naturally lit and the generous glazing and
skylights maintain a link with the outside and its changing sky.
Views along the central axis are marked by the distinctive red
columns, which continue along the external edges of the building
into the distance, evocative of traditional Chinese temples.
The embracing curved cantilever of the terminal greets
passengers arriving by road or from the GTC in a single welcoming
gesture. Departures and arrivals are on separate levels. The
traditional airport diagram has been inverted at T3B, with arrivals
on the upper level, to allow visitors to Beijing to experience the
thrill of this dramatic space from the best vantage point.
The single unifying roof canopy is perforated with skylights to
aid orientation and bring daylight deep into the building. The
color palette moves through 16 tones from red at the entrance at
T3A through to orange and finally yellow at the far end of T3B.
This establishes a subtle zoning system that breaks down the scale
of the building and enables easy orientation.
The roof is a steel space frame with triangular roof lights and
colored metal decking. It curves, rising at the midpoint to create
a dramatic central cathedral-like space, and tapering towards the
edges of the building to provide more intimate areas as passengers
travel towards the gates and the aircraft piers. The trusses that
support the glazing echo the changing color system in the roof -
shifting from red to orange to yellow. The high transparency of the
curtain walling is made possible by extra large mullions, which are
generously spaced to allow larger spans of suspended glazing.
Connections between T3A and T3B take place on a high speed
automated people mover (APM) which travels at up to 80kph, with a
journey time of just two minutes. The APM is easily accessed from
the main departure level and set within a landscaped "green"
cutting, exposed to daylight and views up and through the building,
all of which helps to maintain a sense of orientation.
/Lord Foster, Foster + Partners.
It is one of the world's most advanced buildings in environmental terms, incorporating a range of passive environmental design concepts, such as the south-east orientated skylights, which maximize heat gain from the early morning sun, and an integrated environment-control system that minimizes energy consumption and carbon emissions. In construction terms, it was designed to optimise the performance of materials selected on the basis of local availability, functionality, application of local skills, and low cost procurement.
The first building to break the one million square meter
barrier, it will accommodate an estimated 50 million passengers per
annum by 2020. Although conceived on an unprecedented scale, the
building's design aims to resolve the complexities of modern air
travel, combining spatial clarity with high service standards. It
is friendly and uplifting for passengers as well as easy to
Facts about International Airport
Total airport site area:
(existing airport site + the Terminal 3 expansion project)
Total area T3 expansion: 1,306,000 m2
T3A Area: 515,000 m2
T3B Area: 387,000 m2
T3C Area: 84,000 m2
GTC Area: 320,000 m2
Joint Venture NACO Foster Arup
Young Wei-Yang Chiu
Marcos De Andres
Rodrigo de Castro Pereira
Da Chun Lin
Jean Wenyan Zhu
Local collaborating architect:
BIAD (Beijing Institute of Architectural Design)
Structural & Mechanical Engineers:
Photographed by Michael Weber
Beijing Capital International Airport Company Ltd.
Last updated: December 19, 2013