New terminal puts Shenzen star on global architecture map

After a build time of only three years and a budget of $1 billion, the new Terminal 3 Building at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, designed by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, makes a dramatic architectural statement. This is the first airport project for the Rome-based architects and one intended to launch them into the frontline of high-design transport terminals.

The building runs 1.5 km in length, covering an internal area of half a million square meters. But its most striking achievement may be its unusual form, which the architects liken to a “manta ray,” and its textured “double” skin.

…The project wears the sculptural design with the confidence of a major international hub, a sign of the city’s growing prominence within China, but also of the country’s continuing penchant for large-scale, high-profile architecture commissions…

The vast interiors, the architects say, emphasize the theme of “fluidity … the idea of movement and the idea of pause.” This means that, in addition to designing a visually stimulating environment, they focused on the practicalities of processing times, walking distances, ease of orientation and crowding. But these necessities aside, it’s easy to see an edgy sci-fi film being set in and around the sleek, organic elements.

The client, Shenzhen Airport Group, is said to be so pleased with the results that it is taking steps to try to copyright the design. Studio Fuksas are working on two further phases of development on the airport, due for completion in 2025 and 2035.

Wow! Kudos to the administration of the Shenzhen Airport Group for accepting such a daring design. Studio Fuksas are someone worth following forward to what should be a brilliant architectural career.

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