Beijing’s Terminal 3 : A soaring work of art

Beijing International Airport

I made my Asian debut last month with a three week adventure in Beijing, Hong Kong and Bali. And what a welcome I received as I arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport’s Terminal 3. Designed by the renowned architectural firm of Foster + Partners of London, it officially opened on February 29, 2008.

Terminal 3 now carries the distinction of being the world’s largest building. Designed and completed in only four years, the new terminal is both visually stunning and technologically advanced. It features operational efficiency, passenger comfort, sustainability and plenty of natural light. As the gateway to Beijing for athletes participating in this summer’s twenty-ninth Olympiad, it was designed to be both welcoming and uplifting. Its soaring aerodynamic roof and dragon-like form “celebrate the thrill and poetry of flight.” The gold roof resonates with Beijing’s Forbidden City, while the striking interior palette of red through orange to yellow evokes traditional Chinese colors.

Terminal 3 and the Ground Transportation Centre (GTC) are located between the existing eastern runway and the future third runway. They enclose a floor area of approximately 1.3 million square meters, mostly under one roof. As the first building to break the one million square meter barrier, it will accommodate an estimated 50 million passengers annually by 2020.

It’s quite a welcome to Beijing.

Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport
Photo by Sue Frause

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  1. very cool post Sue. thanks for sharing! i’ll make sure my first trip to Asia (hopefully soon) makes its way through terminal 3.

  2. Terminal 3 in Beijing is pretty impressive, especially the departure level. The tall windows offer some excellent views of the runways where you can take pictures and watch the big jets take off.

  3. Yes, it is quite spectacular. I thought my home airport (Seattle-Tacoma International) was nice, along with Vancouver’s, but this is truly an architectural/environmental statement. Now, if only flying could be as lovely :-).

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