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Largest Airport Building in the World Opens in Beijing

The new terminal at Beijing Capital International Airport opens ahead of schedule for the 2008 Olympics


BY jesse

March 5th, 2008

Designed and completed in just four years, Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport has opened ahead of schedule.

Designed by international design firm Foster + Partners, Terminal 3 and the Ground Transportation Centre (GTC) together enclose a floor area of approximately 1.3 million square metres, mostly under one roof. The first building to break the one million square meter barrier, it will accommodate an estimated 50 million passengers per annum by 2020.

As part of the world’s largest building and most advanced airport, the new terminal was completed as the gateway to Beijing for athletes participating in the twenty-ninth Olympiad, and was designed to be welcoming and uplifting for the travelling olympians.



The terminal building is also one of the world’s 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.



Rather than the sprawl of many separate buildings, it uses less land by bringing everything closer together for ease of communication in one efficient structure, yet it is still 17% bigger than the combined floorspace of all of Heathrow’s terminals 1, 2, 3, 4 and the new Terminal 5.



Norman Foster of Foster + Partners says the new terminal is the largest and most advanced airport building in the world. "…A celebration of the thrill and poetry of flight. A gateway to Beijing, it communicates a unique sense of place, its dragon-like form evoking traditional Chinese colours and symbols."

Image credit: Nigel Young for Foster + Partners

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