After fending off competition from Foster + Partners and UN Studio, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) is in danger of being dropped from a new airport scheme in Taiwan. The country’s Transport Minister, Lin Chia-lung, has ordered the British practice to redesign the airport within six months. “If it fails to meet our demand, we will consider terminating the contract with the design consultant company,” said the Minister in August.
RSHP won the Taoyuan Airport Terminal 3 project in 2016. Back then, the airport was slated to be finished by 2020, however, delays—chief among them the failure to find a contractor to build the airport in three attempts—have since pushed that date back to 2023. According to Lin, a lack of construction bids was down to the design’s complexity. RSHP, meanwhile, argues on its website that the “proposal is inherently simple in its concept.” Speaking to the Central News Agency, a state-owned news agency (depicted as “CNA” on FocusTaiwan.tw), Lin said that the new completion date of 2023 would rest on the outcome of a new design.
The budget for the project has also ballooned from $2.38 billion to $2.55 billion—a seven percent increase. “Now that the government has increased the budget for the project,” added Lin, “the original design must be modified to allow construction of the project to be kick-started as soon as possible.”
Some work has already been carried out on the airport, a project which is set to be Taiwan’s biggest since the 1970s. Airport aprons (the surface at an airport where planes park) and taxiways have already begun to be built. RSHP’s design for Taoyuan airport’s third terminal features a sweeping “hard shell” roof under which an undulating array of lights will be hung as part of a large, open concourse. The design draws upon Termina 4 at Madrid’s Barajas Airport and London Heathrow’s Terminal 5, projects which can both be considered as design successes, particularly the former.
In a joint statement given to The Architect’s Newspaper, the design team, comprising RSHP; CECI Engineering Consultants Inc, Taiwan; Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong Limited and Fei and Chang Associates, said:
The design of Terminal 3 that has been developed by the JV team was selected as a result of a formal design competition process in 2015 and it has been developed by the team, in close coordination with and to the specific requirements of its client (TIAC) in the subsequent months. The JV team is committed to helping TIAC to resolve its current budgetary and procurement challenges and continues to work closely with them to do so.