studio fuksas expands shenzhen bao'an international airport
studio fuksas expands shenzhen bao'an international airport studio fuksas expands shenzhen bao'an international airport
nov 22, 2013

studio fuksas expands shenzhen bao'an international airport

in advance of its official opening of november 28th, 2013, designboom gives you a sneak peak of shenzhen bao’an international airport’s new terminal 3, designed by studio fuksas, who won a competition back in 2008 to realize the expansion. having undergone a remarkably rapid process of design and construction, the airport’s most recent addition has been completed in just three years, and stands as the largest, single public building to date in the chinese city–one of the fastest growing metropolises in the world.

all images courtesy of studio fuksas



the distinct, sculptural building has been conceived to conjure up the image of a manta ray. extending approximately 1.5 km long, with a roof span of 80 m, the organic form seems as if it has been shaped by the wind, and is distinguished by its varying heights that allude to the surrounding landscape. a striking internal and external double-skin exhibits a honeycomb motif that punctuates the façade so that natural light can filter through to the inner core of the terminal at different angles, creating dynamic effects and patterns within. this distinct layer is comprised of alveolus-shaped metal, and glass panels that can be partially opened.

passengers enter the terminal from the ‘tail of the building



passengers enter the structure from an entrance that is positioned under the ‘tail’, where they are invited into a wide terminal bay. white conical support columns that span the height of the framework (touching the roof at a cathedral-like scale) characterize the interior whose spatial concept has been conceived under the concept of fluidity, that integrates two different ideas: that of movement, and the idea of pause.

the honeycomb skin creates dynamic patterns of light on the interior of the terminal




the focal point of the internal area is a terminal square located on the concourse level at the intersection of the building. this program consists of three levels–departures, arrivals and services–and is vertically connected through full height voids which draw light in from the upper floor down to the lowest. the double and triple-height spaces of the departures room establish a visual connection between the internal floors, while at the same time creating a passage for natural light. after check-in, the flow of national and international passengers spread out vertically for departures towards 63 contact gates, and 15 additional remote gates.

the interior is characterized by white conical columns that extend the height of the building



in realizing the interior design of shenzhen international airport’s terminal 3, studio fuksas focused on processing times, walking distances, ease of orientation, crowding and availability of desired amenities offering travelers a comfortable place of engagement while waiting for their flights. check-in islands, gates and passport check areas all have sober profiles as to not to take away from the energetic honeycomb motif that carries onto the interior through many aspects of the interior, and scales–projected on the shop boxes (retail areas), to smaller 3D prints on the walls.

check-in area



covering an area of 500,000 sqm (5,381,955 sqft), terminal 3 increases the airport’s capacity by 58%, so that it able to handle up to 45 million passengers per year. the project if the first airport for the architects, who are involved in two further phases of the aviation hub’s expansion that are set for completion for 2025, and 2035. phase 2 (2025) will be the first remote passenger concourse constructed to add gates and a satellite terminal with rail stations will be operational; while phase 3 (2035) will see the development of the airport’s west side and will coincide with the completion of shenzhen international airport’s terminal 3 master plan.


designboom visited the site of the shenzhen international airport in 2011 when it was halfway through construction. see our documentation of its development here.

stylized ‘trees’ dot the interior, serving as air conditioning vents

the double-skin that envelopes the terminal is composed of metal and glass panels which can be partially opened

waiting areas

ease of transition and minimal walking distances were highly considered in the terminal’s development

the undulating roof structure seems as if it is carved out by the wind

general view of the terminal that has many retail and waiting area

the focal point of the interior is a terminal square of three levels, connected by full height voids

baggage claim area


project info:


project: shenzhen bao’an international airport
site: bao’an district, shenzhen, guangdong, china
period: international competition won 2008 – 2013
area: 500,000 sq.m.
program: airport expansion terminal 3 
client: shenzhen airport (group) co., ltd.
developer: shenzhen planning bureau; shenzhen airport (group) co., ltd.
architects: massimiliano and doriana fuksas
interior design: fuksas design: internet-point, check-in ”island”, security-check, gates, passport-check areas, shop box, baggage-claim “islands”,info-point, ventilation trees, signage, commercial desk and washrooms 
general contractor: china state construction engineering corporation, beijing
structures, facade, parametric design: knippers helbig engineering, stuttgart, ny
architect of record: BIAD (beijing institute of architectural design), beijing
lighting consulting: speirs & major associates, edinburgh, london
cost: 734,000,000 euros

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