China has officially opened the Beijing Daxing International Airport, a futuristic transit hub designed by Zaha Hadid Architects with the world’s biggest terminal spanning 700,000 square meters. Seamlessly integrated into the city’s expanding transportation network, the new airport is defined by dramatic sweeping curves, an abundance of interior daylighting and energy-saving systems that include photovoltaic panels and a rainwater harvesting system. The Beijing Daxing Airport is expected to accommodate 72 million travelers by 2025 and is planned for further expansion to serve up to 100 million passengers and 4 million tons of cargo annually.
Located 46 kilometers south of Beijing’s city center in the Daxing District, the Beijing Daxing International Airport was created to alleviate congestion at the capital’s existing airport. The airport offers direct connections to Beijing — including a 20-minute express train — as well as to the national high-speed rail network and local train services for easy access to nearby regions such as Tianjin and the Hebei Province. The terminal features a compact, radial design to support a maximum number of aircraft and minimize distances from the center of the building.
“Recently assigned the airport code ‘PKX’ by the International Air Transport Association, Beijing Daxing sets a new standard in air transport services, serving the region’s growing population within a compact and efficient passenger terminal that is adaptable for future growth,” reads the architects’ press release. “Echoing principles within traditional Chinese architecture that organize interconnected spaces around a central courtyard, the terminal’s design guides all passengers seamlessly through the relevant departure, arrival or transfer zones toward the grand courtyard at its center — a multi-layered meeting space at the heart of the terminal.”
Zaha Hadid Architects’ iconic, flowing lines are brought to life inside the airport, which features a vaulted roof fitted with linear skylights that flood the interior with natural light. To reduce energy demands, photovoltaic panels were installed to provide a minimum capacity of at least 10 MW. A composite ground-source heat pump system provides supplemental power to the centralized heating system with waste heat recovery. The airport also includes a rainwater collection and water management system that naturally purifies up to 2.8 million cubic meters of water in new wetlands, lakes and streams.
Photography by Hufton+Crow via Zaha Hadid Architects