Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport / Studio Fuksas

  • 31 Jan 2014
  • Featured Infrastructure Selected Works
Courtesy of

Architects: Studio Fuksas
Location: Bao’an International Airport, Bao’an, , Guangdong, China
Architect In Charge: Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas
Architect Of Record: BIAD (Beijing Institute of Architectural Design), Beijing
Area: 500,000 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

General Contractor: China State Construction Engineering Corporation, Beijing
Structures, Facade, Parametric Design: Knippers Helbig Engineering, Stuttgart, NY
Lighting Consulting: Speirs & Major Associates, Edinburgh, London
Building Costs: 734,000,000 Euros

Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

From the architect. The concept of the plan for Terminal 3 of Shenzen Bao’an international airport evokes the image of a manta ray, a fish that breathes and changes its own shape, undergoes variations, turns into a bird to celebrate the emotion and fantasy of a flight.

Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

The structure of T3 – an approximately 1,5-km-long tunnel – seems to be modeled by the wind and is reminiscent of the image of an organic-shaped sculpture. The profile of the roofing is characterized by variations in height alluding to the natural landscape.

Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

The symbolic element of the plan is the internal and external double “skin” honeycomb motif that wraps up the structure. Through its double-layering, the “skin” allows natural light in, thus creating light effects within the internal spaces. The cladding is made of alveolus-shaped metal and glass panels of different size that can be partially opened.

Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

The passengers accede to the terminal from the entrance situated under the large T3 “tail”. The wide terminal bay is characterized by white conical supporting columns rising up to touch the roofing like the inside of a cathedral. On the ground floor, the terminal square allows access to the luggage, departures and arrivals areas as well as coffee houses and restaurants, offices and business facilities. The departures room houses the check-in desks, the airlines info-points and several help-desks. The double and triple height spaces of the departures room establish a visual connection between the internal levels and create a passage for natural light. After checking in, the national and international passengers’ flows spread out vertically for departures.

Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

The concourse is the airport key-area and is made up of three levels. Each level is dedicated to three independent functions: departures, arrivals and services. Its tubular shape chases the idea of motion. The “cross” is the intersection point where the 3 levels of the concourse are vertically connected to create full-height voids which allow natural light to filter from the highest level down to the waiting room set in the node on level 0.

Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

The honeycomb motif is transferred and replicated on the interior design. Shop boxes, facing one another, reproduce the alveolus design on a larger scale and recur in different articulations along the concourse.

Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

The interiors designed by Fuksas – placed in the internet-point, check-in, security-check, gates and passport-check areas – have a sober profile and a stainless steel finish that reflects and multiplies the honeycomb motif of the internal “skin”.

Courtesy of Studio Fuksas

Sculpture–shaped objects -  big stylised white trees – have been designed for air conditioning all along the terminal and the concourse, replicating the planning of amorphous forms inspired by nature. This is also the case for the baggage-claim and info-point “islands”. 

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport / Studio Fuksas" 31 Jan 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Frank Seifert

    good idea = great work

  • francesco narracci

    bellissimo.bravo.c’è anche Felix Candela?

  • WayneL


  • bibi

    i must confess, sometimes blobs look good. this blob looks good.

  • hermann

    a great functional,beautiful n creative idea.i like it