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Foster and partners wins in China again

A design by architects Foster & Partners, in joint venture with engineers Arup and airport planners NACO working with the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and Research, has won the competition for Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3.

The award is not the first time the joint venture has enjoyed an airport success, it also designed Hong Kong's award winning Chek Lap Kok airport.

The US $2 billion expansion of Beijing's airport, currently the busiest in China, is required to handle the massive increase in passengers caused by China’s entry to the WTO (World Trade Organisation) and Beijing's hosting the 2008 Olympics. The project will increase the airports capacity from 27 to 60 million passengers per annum by 2015.

Built between the existing eastern runway and the future third runway, the design incorporates a soaring aerodynamic roof that reflects the poetry of flight as well as being evocative of traditional Chinese colours and symbols. The vast scale and dramatic form of the building will create a new icon for China and the City of Beijing. In order to be as welcoming as possible, the terminal building has been designed with only a few level changes, short walking distances and quick transfer times.

The airport will be also one of the world's most sustainable, utilising design concepts such as south-east orientated skylights to maximise heat gain from the early morning sun and integrated environmental control systems minimising energy consumption and carbon emissions. Lord Foster said on behalf of the team: “This is a fantastic opportunity to deliver a 21st century airport that will set global standards in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and sustainability. But this airport will also be a symbol of place and togetherness, welcoming and uplifting.”

The design made use of a modular structure to accelerate the construction period so that the airport could open ahead of the Olympic Games in 2007 and be able grow with minimal disturbance to normal operations in the future.

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