10 Facts About Zaha Hadid Architects’ Beijing Daxing International Airport

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A breathtaking, one-of-a-kind airport has just recently been inaugurated in the suburbs of Chinese capital, Beijing. Named the Beijing Daxing International Airport, the main building spans 700,000 square meters (7.5 million square feet) making it the world’s largest airport terminal within the world’s largest airport. The airport’s unique plan and pioneering design details set it apart from its compatriots, forming a new type of transportation center that’s built for the future.

Beijing Daxing’s massive size and innovative design comes with ambitious goals regarding its stake on the world’s transportation activity. Therefore, this is definitely not the last time you’ll hear about this marvel. Until then, brush up your knowledge of the Beijing Daxing International Airport with these 10 facts. ..

Image via NKCHU

1. Beijing Daxing was developed to alleviate congestion at the capital’s existing airport, Beijing Capital International Airport, by redirecting travelers to a new transportation hub.

2. The $11.5 billion airport replaces the 109-year-old Nanyuan Airport, which was Beijing’s first ever airport. Its last flight took off on September 25, and it will now exist as an aviation museum.


3. Construction for the $11.5 billion project began in 2014, with more than 40,000 workers on site at its peak.

4. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, Beijing Daxing is built for the future, featuring a terminal the size of 97 soccer pitches, making it the largest single-building terminal in the world. It’s also clad with customer-service robots that provide travelers with flight updates and airport information.


5. The airport is nicknamed “starfish” for its shape fashioned by the five concourses connecting to a main hall. This design echoes principles within traditional Chinese architecture that organizes interconnected spaces around a central courtyard. It functions to seamlessly guide passengers through relevant departure, arrival, and transfer zones towards this grand, meeting space at the heart of the terminal.

Image via NKCHU

6. Beijing Daxing will initially serve 45 million passengers per year, but by 2025 this figure will grow to 72 million travelers. There are also plans for further expansion to serve up to 100 million passengers and 4 million tons of cargo annually.

7. The airport’s 700,000 square-meter (7.5 million square feet) passenger terminal includes an 80,000 m^2 ground transportation center offering direct connections to Beijing, the national high-speed rail network and local train services, which provides a catalyst for economic development in Tianjin and Hebei Province.


8. The compact, radial design of the terminal allows a maximum number of aircraft to be parked directly at the terminal with minimum distances from the center of the building. It reduces walking for passengers, providing great convenience and flexibility in operations, and it rids the need for shuttles and trains to get around. This configuration ensures the farthest boarding gate can be accessed in a walking time of less than 8 minutes.


9. In an effort to reduce Beijing Daxing’s environmental footprint, Zaha Hadid Architects designed a rainwater collection and a water management system that stores, permeates, and purifies water up to 2.7 million cubic meters of water from nearby wetlands, lakes, and streams in order to prevent flooding and the summer heat island effect on the local microclimate. A centralized heating system, created to recover and retain excess heat from the airport’s operation, will also cut down on carbon emissions.

10. Though Beijing Daxing is officially open for service, China United Airlines is the only airline that will be flying in and out of the airport until October 27. Then it will open to non-domestic flights from China along with foreign airlines.

Read more about this incredible project over on Zaha Hadid Architects’ project page

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