The late, great Zaha Hadid is responsible for some of the world’s best-loved pieces of modern architecture. She was also the driving force behind one of China’s latest transport services, the ‘starfish’ airport which opened in 2019. It’s a revolutionary building which not only simplifies passenger journeys and helps to alleviate traffic from the center of Beijing, but which also actively cuts down on carbon emissions.
Here are some fantastic facts about this stunning airport which are well worth remembering. For instance – did you know that Hadid nearly didn’t get the contract at all for the airport, and that the airport actively cuts down on its own carbon? Here’s some more fun facts about Zaha Hadid Airport…
The spectacular Zaha Hadid Airport opened in 2019 on September 25th.
The airport stems from the design work of Zaha Hadid Architects, and is officially known as ‘Beijing Daxing International Airport’.
Construction of the massive, complex, single terminal building took only one year to complete.
Daxing Airport Terminal, Beijing
Construction on the site of Beijing Daxing International Airport officially started in 2014.
40,000 construction workers were on site at one point during construction of the airport.
The Beijing Daxing International Airport has the biggest terminal building in the world. It is the size of 97 football pitches and is the only ‘single terminal building’ airport in the world.
The terminal building of the airport is laid out in the form of a starfish.
At the center or heart of the starfish shaped terminal is a meeting place and general hub, allowing visitors an opportunity to select the corridor or limb of the starfish they need to use.
Along the walls of the terminal building are computers and robotic guidance systems to help locate information about flights and administrative information.
This airport, whilst ultra-modern, appears to adhere to some of the classic architectural features of the east.
The airport’s main focus has been to help relieve the main airport in Beijing from its increasing volume of passengers.
The airport is initially on target to cope with 45 million passengers.
It is projected that by 2025, Beijing Daxing International Airport could be used by up to 25 million passengers.
Plans continue to be developed for increasing passenger and cargo use at the airport beyond 2025. These are for the eventuality that the expanded airport will cope with up to four million tons of cargo and 100 Million passengers annually.
The airport is cunningly designed to allow for people to walk a maximum of eight minutes to get to their boarding gates. It’s a miracle of modern design!
A main feature of the Beijing Daxing International Airport was created with considerationfor passenger comfort. It takes only eight minutes walking time from the center of the terminal to board an aircraft. There will be no need to wait for shuttle buses or trains.
Due to the starfish layout, aircraft can be positioned in a circular fashion, very close to the terminal building. This makes embarking and disembarking easy as well as the movement mof loading and off-loading luggage and cargo simpler.
On opening, only China United Airlines used the new International Airport at Beijing. Now, however, other airlines use the facility.
The airport was constructed to replace the Nanyuan airport, which was Beijing’s first.
Construction for the airport had a budget of $11.5 billion.
The area of the passenger terminal covers 7.5 million square feet (700,000 square meters).
Both national high speed trains and local trains for the nearby towns and cities bring passengers and visitors to a ‘transportation center’, which is a spacious 80,000 square meters.
The previous Nanyuan airport saw its last flight in September 2015. It now serves as a museum for aviation.
The water system at the airport not only stores and purifies water, but also handles the ‘management’ of the nearby lakes, wetlands, and streams – it helps to avoid flooding.
This system deals with 2.7 million cubic meters of water. Careful monitoring of both the system and the micro climate surrounding the airport helps to reduce the body’s carbon footprint.
The Beijing Daxing International Airport is also known by the name of its main designer, Zaha Hadid. An accomplished architect, she and her team designed the airport with the future in mind. It was known that the planning authorities anticipated considerable expansion in the future.
Zaha Hadid was joined by Patrick Schumacher for the new Airport Project at Beijing. Schumacher became Studio Principal at the company.
Hadid’s company failed to make the initial designer shortlist for the airport, but soon after the contract was established with another company, her team was invited to return to the table in October 2014!
A British Iraqi, Hadid was the first Arab woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She was one of a team of designers involved in work for the Olympic Games London in 2012.
Hadid also worked on the Broad Art Museum in the US.
Hadid won over 100 prestigious awards and was, in her time, amongst the world’s wealthiest architects. She died in 2016 aged 65, following a heart attack.
The airport benefits from state of the art air traffic control systems. The ‘Terminal Manoeuvring Area’ (TMA) uses the ‘TopSky-ATC’ system.
There are also additional control systems for the area and towers, together creating the world’s largest air traffic control system of its kind!
One of the main design features of the airport is to help reduce carbon all around. This is helped by a central heating system, which reuses heat that’s emitted by the airport instead of letting it go to waste!
Do you have any fun facts about the Zaha Hadid Airport? Share them in the comments below!