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Tuesday22 July 2014

Foster's Beijing airport terminal opens

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Foster & Partner’s new terminal at Beijing airport has opened ahead of the 2008 Olympics.

Described by the practice as “the largest and most advanced airport building in the world”, it is 3.25km long and has been designed to take 53 million passengers a year by 2020.

Free from the restrictions of a democratic planning process, the project has been designed and built in under four years, less than the time than it took to complete the planning inquiry for Heathrow Terminal Five. At one point during construction there were 50,000 labourers on site.

The building is equivalent in area to every terminal at Heathrow plus 17%, a total of 1.3 million sq m, almost all of which is under one roof.

Norman Foster said: “This new terminal is the largest and most advanced airport building in the world - a celebration of the thrill and poetry of flight. A gateway to Beijing, it communicates a unique sense of place, its dragon-like form evoking traditional Chinese colours and symbols.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I have no doubt that Foster's work is a great architectural and engineering achievement, the same way for example of the 'bird's nest' Stadium for the Olympics. But I cannot not take into considerations the costs (social/human) that may have come about to realize these projects. Chinese workers' pay is incredibility low and there are no clear Health & Safety protection/rules in place. For example we have been made aware that China has systematically covered accidental deaths of 10 workers, if not more, on the building site of the 'bird's nest' stadium in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, on which workers have been known to be paid 3 or 4 a day. Can we really not take this kind of information into consideration when admiring architectural works of this calibre? As I expressed earlier I value the architectural achievement of Foster's Beijing Airport Terminal et al, but maybe we could/should also highlight a little more the 'controversial' (I am being polite here) core system of the Chinese Construction Industry?

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  • i completely agree with Ms. casini, the real beauty of any structure is to be credited to the worker as well as the architect, of course sir norman foster, is a great architect, one can say he is the corbusier/wright of the 21st century, his works have excellent function and form, revolving around fuller's geodesic principles, and ventilation and natural lighting concepts, his stud in glass is unique as one can see in reichstag, but what made them possible, what make all these great structures possible, is the hands behind it, the sweat, and blood of men , i may suggest to reading architects, or attorneys to make workers rights more and more helpful, so that they get their share of law, and ammenities. saluting to sir norman foster , and mr.calatrava

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