It’s official: Zaha Hadid Architects' massive design for the new Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) is open to the public and expected to see up to 45 million passengers a year, with hopes of accommodating 72 million by 2025. Envisioned by the late Hadid herself, the sprawling “starfish” structure is now considered the largest terminal building in the world at 7.5 million square feet. It was built in less than five years in an effort to relieve air traffic from the nearby Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), a 2008 design by Foster + Partners. Located at the opposite end of China’s capital to the south, PKX sits on the outskirts of the Daxing District. Earlier today at 4:23 p.m. in China, the first commercial flight took off from the airport and headed to Guangzhou. Six other domestic flights departed from the four runways on site before 5 p.m. Over the coming weeks and months, several flight routes will be transitioned from PEK to PKX while some airlines, like British Airways, will move their entire Chinese operations to Daxing. In total, the airport is currently slated to handle 630,000 flights annually. AN previously reported on the terminal’s sweeping interiors and its many signature-Zaha design moments. From the curved white walls and ceilings to the slick, polished floors, the airport is arguably one of the most visually complex in the world. It features radial skylights that extend out from the center of the structure down the length of its legs. A copper-colored skin clads the airport’s roofs and from above, it truly looks alien. From the inside, it takes on almost a new-age modernist tone. The airport's grand opening comes just days before the 70-year anniversary since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
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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.
London's Heathrow Airport, the largest airport in the U.K. and seventh busiest in the world, has become the next target of criticism by climate activists. A group called the Heathrow Pause plans to interrupt flight activity at the airport by flying toy drones over the transit hub on September 13 in order to draw awareness to the transportation sector's contributions to greenhouse gases in the U.K. This comes in response to the Heathrow Expansion Plan, which contravenes the Climate and Environmental Emergency declared by Parliament in May 2019. Stopping traffic at the airport requires the creation of an “exclusion zone” that would surround the airport and completely ignores Heathrow’s 3.1-mile no-fly zone for drones and aircraft not affiliated with the airport. The Heathrow Pause is calling for climate activists to join their fight against the airport and its members are willing to face arrest under the main belief of their manifesto that, “In light of current scientific knowledge and quantifiable evidence it is a crime against humanity - and all life on earth - to support carbon-intensive infrastructure projects.” The Heathrow Expansion’s main goal is to connect all of the U.K. under a nine-point Connectivity Plan, as stated on their website, with the bold statement exclaiming that the plan is “Supported by the Whole of the UK”. Despite corporate support, Heathrow has been a steady target of climate activists. In 2017, the airport emitted 19.5 million tons of carbon, and if a third runway is built there, an addition of 4.3 million tons of atmospheric pollution would be released per year. In the wake of the declared U.K. Climate Emergency, there have been more efforts to stop the airport's expansion. Carbon emissions from air travel are one of the hardest sources to cut due to the fact that there is no current alternative to carbon-heavy jet fuels. Bio-jet fuels that can operate at the scale of use of major airlines are still far from complete development. The only current solution is to reduce flight activity or abandon air transportation altogether. Due to the intensity and potential impacts of their peaceful protest, Heathrow Pause has created a list of protocols to ensure the safety of those involved and affected by the protest. The airport authorities have been given a six-week notice of the start date and time of the protest, and there will be a one hour notice before each drone flight. Drone use is planned to stop in the event of a “genuine emergency" and will not be flown through flight paths. Although the fleet of toy drones won't stop air travel completely, it just might be an action large enough to draw attention to the importance of investment in climate reform.
It’s been a long road for those involved in Kansas City’s mega-plan to upgrade its outdated international airport, but the process is moving along. In late 2017, a proposal by Skidmore, Owings & Merril (SOM), put together in collaboration with the Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate, was overwhelmingly approved by the local city council, but less than a month later, things seemed to have gone awry. AECOM and local firm Burns & McDonnell announced their counterproposal for the new Kansas City International Airport (KCI) project after their scheme had been previously passed over earlier in the year after officials became frustrated with Edgemoor’s lack of clarity over how they would fund what was seen by some as unnecessarily expensive design moves. Burns & McDonnell sued to overrule the developer’s selection, but its efforts were in vain and the only real consequence was a significant trim to the budget for the KCI project. Now, two years later, Edgemoor and SOM’s plans have been finalized and the design is a bit flatter than originally proposed. Using feedback collected from local residents and stakeholders over the last year, the team revealed new renderings last week during a business session meeting with the Kansas City city council. The one-million-square-foot project is still scaled back as was previously unveiled last August, but the ideas are much more clear and include further details. Slated to be built on the site of KCI’s demolished Terminal A building, SOM’s single-terminal structure will combine the three existing terminals into one H-shaped design. It will feature a smooth, flat roof with skylights spanning the two-story check-in area, as well as narrow, clerestory windows in the public corridors. Floor-to-ceiling windows will light up the 39 gates within the terminal, also providing views of the surrounding airfield, with room for the building to expand to up to 50 gates. The design team will use warm, natural materials such as native wood and stone on the ceilings and walls respectively, paying homage to Kansas City’s welcoming atmosphere, according to officials. An indoor fountain will be integrated into the retail and dining “cul-de-sac,” which includes a small bevy of planters and seating for relaxing on before a flight. An interactive display detailing the history of Kansas City and the airport will be set aside in a corridor as well. On the other side of the terminal's entrance, a 6,300-spot parking garage will provide travelers with easier access to the main building. The revamped KCI is expected to open in four years ahead of the NFL Draft, which Kansas City is set to host in April 2023. The $1.5 billion project broke ground in March of this year.
Zaha Hadid Architect’s sprawling Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) in Daxing is nearly complete. Design lovers can get a preliminary peek inside of China’s largest, otherworldly terminal, and ZHA's first airport project, thanks to news organization CGTN, which produced a 360-degree walkthrough of the shiny new space. Slated to open in late September, the 7.5-million-square-foot structure is expected to take on upwards of 45 million passengers a year. Within six years, it’s projected that the facility will handle 72 million people. Aiming to accommodate up to 630,000 flights per year across four runways, PKX hopes to relieve traffic from the Beijing Capital International Airport, a 2008 structure on the opposite end of the city, designed by Foster + Partners. According to CGTN, a phased plan will transfer several flight operations from the existing airport to PKX at the southern tip of Daxing. Based on initial visuals, visitors can get a sense of how the throngs of passengers might flow through the airport’s unique layout. ZHA created a single structure with a six-pier radial design—as they call it—that features a core transfer and check-in space infused with natural light thanks to large windows and several skylights. The late Hadid’s signature slick and sweeping white ceilings, as well as curvaceous walls, are evident in CGTN’s insider photography. From above, the architecture appears web-like, and narrow skylights extend from the central public area out to the edge of the terminal legs. AN will report further details on the design of PKX upon its opening on September 30th.
Foster + Partners’ design for a new extension to the Marseilles Airport on a former brownfield site is being scrutinized by France’s environmental agency, which has called for a resubmission of the plans in fear they don’t align with the country’s ambitious plan to go carbon neutral by 2050. The Autorité Environnementale (AE) said that the current plans are “underestimating the project’s environmental impacts and overestimating its socio-economic benefits” in their statement. Areas of concern for the AE include Foster + Partners’ addressing of traffic, noise, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and even the impact on local birdlife. The renowned British firm won the competition for this extension in 2017, beating Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners for the chance to add the “missing piece” between the existing buildings of the airport—the original ’60s modernist wing by Fernand Pouillon and a 1992 addition designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership. The winning design features a prominent glazed volume, a space for newly connected departures, and arrivals hall. In addition to the 72-foot-tall windows that will pour light into the building, an array of continuous skylights in the inverted beam roof will add to the naturally-lit "glass box" effect. The goal? “A clarity of layout and expression,” according to the firm, inspired by Pouillon’s project, with the ability to process over 12 million travelers per year. “In regards to the content, the extension project has been thought to be virtuous,” said an AE spokesperson, clarifying that the query wasn’t a question of the design, but of the methodology. While the architects defend their claims that the airport will be sustainable—even exceeding the cutting edge French HQE and E+C- standards—the project's focus on new public transit connectivity and more efficient airplanes seemed to miss the mark for the AE and have muddied the proposal for the agency. The new E+C- standards place a priority on energy-positive and low-carbon emission building projects, ideas that came into effect after pledges at the 2016 Paris Agreement amongst UN countries. France is due to receive the resubmission of more detailed plans for environmental action at the Aeroport Marseilles Provence by September 2019 and has reaffirmed its commitment to environmental action in the face of a growing denial of climate change in international politics. The carbon neutrality plan is seen as being “trialed” by the French, and the government’s attention to the new law, just implemented in June, has sent ripples throughout the international community. Foster + Partners has recently taken several internal steps to address and highlight climate concerns, and have expressed their commitment to the Paris Agreement and movements like Net Zero Carbon Commitment. Foster + Partners has publicly pledged to have 100 percent of their own occupied offices be carbon neutral by 2030, and has joined Architects Declare, a collective of UK firms verbal in their recognition and combating of climate change.
It’s official: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been selected to design two, $1.4 billion satellite buildings at O’Hare International Airport to pair with Studio Gang’s plan for a new Terminal 2. As the runner up in the competition to secure the site’s new Global Terminal project, the veteran, Chicago-based firm will still be able to cement their vision within O’Hare’s upcoming mega-expansion with their connecting concourses spanning a total of 1.2 million square feet. Slated to break ground in 2022, the structures will be built west of Terminal 2 and link to it via underground tunnels. It’s not completely clear yet what SOM’s design will entail, since Chicago’s Department of Aviation, which announced the news this week, didn’t release any additional design renderings. It is expected, however, that SOM’s buildings will match the tone and palette chosen by Studio ORD Joint Venture Partners (the multi-pronged team led by Studio Gang) for the core concourse. This mean’s SOM’s original proposal, which was designed in tandem with Ross Barney Architects and Arup, and inspired by the airport’s original name, Orchard Field, likely won’t be fully realized. Despite this, the tall glass walls and nature-infused interior in the firm’s initial competition entry might still be integrated somehow into the light-filled and timber-clad architecture of Terminal 2. Jeane Gang said in a statement that all collaborating firms will work together to make a space that “captures the unique culture of Chicago.” Of the other three firms who were shortlisted in the competition, SOM’s appeared to be the most complimentary to Studio ORD’s design. While Terminal 2 is expected to be a rather dramatic piece of architecture with an airy, timber-clad interior, the satellite structures might be as well, albeit smaller and thinner. The proposals by the losing group of finalists, Santiago Calatrava, Foster + Partners, and Fentress Architects, shared these similar qualities but they didn’t the advantage of being a hometown studio. Expected to be complete by 2026, the transformational Global Terminal project is part of former mayor Rahm Emanual’s O’Hare 21 initiative, a push to modernize the 75-year-old O'Hare International Airport and upgrade its passenger experience and commercial offerings. By replacing the current Terminal 2 with the new $8.5 billion spaces by Studio ORD and SOM, the airport will nearly double in size from 5.5 million square feet to 8.9 million square feet.
Ground has been broken on a $5 billion airport meant to connect Peru’s mountainous Machu Picchu more easily with the outside world, but conservationists are up in arms over the impact the facility will have on the fragile world heritage site. Machu Picchu is one of the most famous Incan archeological sites in the world but is currently strained past capacity with tourists. According to The Guardian, 1.5 million visited the fortress in 2017, twice the amount recommended by UNESCO. Currently, the site is only accessible through a single runway airport in the nearby city of Cusco, and to ameliorate crowding and provide easier access to the fragile mountaintop, land is already being cleared at the town of Chinchero—between Machu Picchu and Cusco—for a major international airport that would receive direct flights. Machu Picchu sits in the 37-mile-long Sacred Valley, once the heart of the ancient Incan empire, and activists are worried that the airport (and increased tourism) would despoil the miles of paths, terraces, and other vulnerable sites in the valley. Opponents of the airport claim that the environmental ramifications would be huge, and that runoff from the construction would pollute the nearby Lake Piuray, which provides nearly half of Cusco’s water supply. Additionally, the low-flying planes and influx of tourists may damage the sensitive archeological campus. Peruvian art historian Natalia Majluf has started a petition in opposition to the airport, that at the time of writing, has 48,000 signatures. In it, Majluf cites the potential damage to the area’s canals, ritual lines, and agricultural heritage, which is a direct continuation of the Incan traditions and knowledge that originated in the valley. Majluf is appealing directly to Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra to at least reconsider the airport’s location, but according to The Guardian, the government seems committed to the project. “This airport will be built as soon as possible because it’s very necessary for the city of Cusco,” Finance Minister Carlos Oliva said last month. “There’s a series of technical studies which support this airport’s construction.”
After the cancellation of Foster + Partners’ $13 billion NAICM (Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México) via public referendum last October, the Mexican government opted to replace the scuttled Mexico City airport with a cheaper alternative. Come June, according to Mexico News Daily, ground will be broken on the $3.8 billion Felipe Ángeles Airport at Santa Lucía Air Force Base. The design is extremely sparse compared to the spiderlike central airport proposed before it, and the first phase will feature a terminal, two runways, control tour, and a 4,000-car capacity parking lot. The Felipe Ángeles Airport, rather than building on new land, will expand the Santa Lucía Air Force Base, and the project is being overseen and built by the military college of engineers. Brigadier General Ricardo Vallejo told Mexico New Daily that the airport should be open to travelers in June of 2021 and would accommodate up to 20 million passengers a year, growing to 80 million a year over the next five decades. A new 29-mile-long highway will also be built to connect the northern Felipe Ángeles Airport to the existing Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX) at a cost of $528 million. The new airport is part of the Mexican government’s plan to split the traffic that the NAICM would have accommodated between two separate locations; currently MEX is operating at 50 percent over capacity. Additionally, the original Mexico City airport will gain a third, and possibly fourth, terminal to cope with the increased traffic. The NAICM was canceled after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador pledged in 2018 as part of his presidential campaign to hold a public referendum over the project. With 70 percent of the public in opposition, the travel hub was canceled. Although $5 billion had already been spent by that time, opposition to the project had been mounting on a number of fronts. The total cost of the airport, once demolition of Santa Lucía and the original MEX was factored in, was estimated at $31 billion. Additionally, NAICM was being built on the wetland plain of Texcoco and would have sunk by up to 16 inches a year. Because Texcoco is so low-lying, it would have also been inundated by stormwater runoff from the surrounding city.
Brought to you with support fromIn Israel's Negev Desert, a faceted mass has risen in the shroud of the Eilat Mountains. Designed by Amir Mann / Ami Shinar Architects and Planners, and Moshe Zur Architects, the Ramon International Airport is clad in large aluminum composite panels. Opened in January 2019, the principal terminal building of the airport measures nearly 500,000 square feet and replaces Eilat's preexisting airport located in the center of the city. While the tabula rasa-like setting of the desert allowed for a number of formal possibilities, the bareness of the surrounding landscape visually heightens subtle facade elements. The design team looked to the mushroom-like rock formations found in the adjacent Timna Park when shaping the building's mass, but the final form was driven by more than just aesthetics. The aluminum walls rise and double-over themselves as self-shading devices. "The slanting-out facades of the Terminal shade the building itself, while the cutting-edge aluminum panels, which insulate, help to reflect the UV rays through their pristine white coloring," said Amir Mann.
After six years, the first phase of Safdie Architects’ monumental Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore will open to the public on April 17. That not only includes an indoor “rain forest” with walking trails, but also the world’s largest indoor waterfall. The 1.4-million-square-foot doughnut-shaped building is a greenhouse ensconced within a steel diagrid frame engineered by BuroHappold. The five-story toroid stretches another five levels underground as well and is designed to connect the Changi Airport’s terminals 1, 2, and 3, and to public transit. Jewel was conceived of as an amenity hub for the airport and contains over 280 retail stores, galleries, and restaurants, a 130-room hotel, and operations space for the airport, including a lounge and check-in area. To mitigate the noise from the aircraft taking off around it, the triangular window sections were installed with a .6-inch-thick air gap between the two glass panes. Jewel's crowning feature is its seven-story indoor waterfall, the “Rain Vortex,” which dramatically pours down from a central oculus and into a circular catch below. The waterfall is, appropriately enough, fed by water collected during Singapore’s constant thunderstorms, and the recirculated rainwater diffuses throughout the Jewel to passively cool the interior. All of that humidity also helps maintain the thousands of plants, including 2,000 trees, found within. Other than the Forest Valley, which includes terraced vegetation and “forest walks” around the waterfall, the 150,000-square-foot Canopy Park on the fifth floor further enhances then garden feel. Glass bottomed bridges, topiary mazes, sky nets (suspended net paths), mirrored “discovery slides” that will open on June 10, and a gathering space for up to 1,000 guests can all be found on the Jewel’s top floor. Such an enormous undertaking was a collaborative effort, and Safdie led a multidisciplinary group of designers and engineers. Atelier Ten was responsible for the building’s climate control systems; Singapore’s RSP Architects Planners & Engineers was the project’s executive architect; the Berkeley, California-based Peter Walker and Partners was responsible for the landscape design and plant selection; and Los Angeles’s WET engineered the Rain Vortex and developed a 360-degree light and sound show to play against the waterfall at night.
According to a new environmental review document, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is poised for a large expansion that could add up to two new terminals and nearly two dozen new gates to help handle the influx of travelers headed to the city for the 2028 Olympic Games. Urbanize.LA reported that the plans call for attaching the new Concourse 0 terminal and its 11 passenger gates to the east of the existing Terminal 1 structure along the northern end of the LAX complex. A second new terminal, Terminal 9, will bring 12 new gates to the southern end of the airport, where it will be met by an extended run of a forthcoming automated people mover (APM) that is currently under construction. The Los Angeles Times reported that the expansion plans include reconfiguring existing airplane runways, including on the northern end of the airport, where earlier plans to retool runway facilities produced outcry from neighboring communities concerned about noise, pollution, and other negative impacts. The proposed runway changes involve reconfiguring the airport’s road network while maintaining the current distance from those communities. The plans come as Los Angeles World Airports, the entity that runs LAX, works to complete a $14 billion facilities upgrade plan for the airport’s existing roads, terminals, and associated transportation facilities. That plan includes a $1.6 billion Gensler and Corgan–designed terminal that will bring 12 new gates to a mid-field site capable of handling new “super-jumbo” airplanes for long-haul international flights. The project, known as the Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) will connect to the existing and recently-expanded Tom Bradley International Terminal via a pair of underground tunnels that will feature moving sidewalks. Along with the APM, L.A.’s transit authority is also at work adding a new light rail station to the airport that will link LAX with the county’s regional transit network. The station is set to open in 2022 and will eventually make the airport accessible via two light rail transit routes, the Crenshaw and Green Lines. Those elements, in turn, will be joined by new consolidated parking, rideshare, and taxi facilities. The preliminary environmental document for the latest round of additions only provides a general timeline for completion that is subject to further review. The plan envisions the improvements being made by 2028.