Shenzhen International Airport Terminal 3 by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas



Italian architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas have won the competition to design a new terminal at Shenzen Bao'an International Airport in China.


The 400,000 square metre terminal will be built in three phases, with the final elements completed in 2035.


Here's all the info from the architects:


Shenzhen is one of the most important industrial and touristical locations of whole China. Shenzhen is located in the southern portion of the Guangdong Province, on the eastern shore of the Pearl River Delta. Neighbouring the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong , Shenzhen’s location gives it a geographical advantage for economic development.


Shenzhen International Airport Terminal will be the gateway to the city of Shenzhen. The first and last image an air traveller has of a city are those created by the traveller’s impression of the airport. T3 in Shenzhen International Airport can positively influence the image that international, national business people and tourists have of Shenzhen.


The master plan for Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport intends to offer world-class transportation services. Achieving this means that Shenzhen airport must be operate at the following levels:


Globally - T3 at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport must serve as the global aviation gateway between China and the rest of the world.


Nationally - as the fourth largest following Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in China, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport is a trunk of domestic flights and hub of national flights. Enhancement of transfer services between international and domestici flights will improve the distribution of wealth among all Chinese cities.


Regionally - Currently, there are more than 40 cities with populations of over one million within 3.5 hours flying time of Shenzhen. This makes Shenzhen an excellent location for a regional hub. Passengers travelling from neighboring cities could fly to Shenzhen to connect with long distance global flights or flights to other Asian cities.


In construction terms, its design optimises the performance of materials selected on the basis of local availability, functionality, application of local skills, and low cost procurement. Remarkably, it will have been designed and built in just few years. For the complete of T3 Shenzhen Bao’an Airport there are three phases.


Phase 1 (in 2015)

Major facilities in Phase 1 will include the unit terminal with 63 contact gates, the first stage of the APM, traffic system, parking place, landscape, and shopping centre. Train service for APM will not be available until the complete of Phase 2.


Phase 2 (in 2025)

Expansion after Phase 1 will occur based on masterplan. During Phase 2, the first remote passenger concourse will be constructed to add gates and the satellite terminal with rail stations will be operational. This will require expansion of the APM.


Phase 3 (in 2035)

Development of the airport’s west side will continue until about 2035 when T3 Shenzhen International Airport will be fully constructed. Phase 3 continues the demand driven development process. The satellite terminal will again undergo expansion and more remote concourse will be added during this decade. And also there will be expansion of Terminal head house. The volume of extension of Terminal head house is going to be glass facade with glass roof so that the extension of building can have continuity in terms of construction material.


Consequently this way of extension can have merits not only for the aesthetic reason but also for construction. Designed for maximum flexibility to cope with the unpredictable nature of the aviation industry, like its predecessors, it aims to resolve the complexities of modern air travel, combining spatial clarity with high service standards.


Terminal and Concourse

The passenger terminal and concourse constitute the major portion of the passengers’ perception of an airport. Factors which affect passengers’ impressions include processing times, walking distances, ease of orientation, crowding, and availability of desired amenities. Each of these has been carefully considered in developing the concept for the passenger terminal and concourse.


The terminal is open to views to the outside and planned under a single unifying roof canopy. Natural light is coming through the skin that is double skins with pattern. The skin avoids direct sunlight to reduce energy consumption and creates elegant atmosphere. It makes the air travellers have marvellous impression with comfort.



The plaza provides access to the baggage handling, departures and arrivals hall on the ground floor as well as to the cafes and restaurants, offices and facilities for business meetings. Void in the grand departure hall establishes not only a visual link between different levels but also the passages of natural light to the other levels.


The grand departure hall has vast plaza with check-in counters that is brighten elegantly by the diffusion of light from the roof. This provides a pleasant waiting space with check-in desks, an information counter, car rental companies and airline counters. The mega-trusses are used to have this vast closed plaza.

Travellers arrives at the terminal at 14m through the car way. The canopy of the airport can make them feel welcome with light effect that is created by double slit of canopy. After check-in two types of travellers, international and domestic departure is going to divide vertically. For international departure travellers has to go down using escalators while domestic travellers go to security area(CIQ) at 14m.


Concourse area is one of key function area at the airport. Concourse area at T3 Shenzhen International Airport is composed with three levels. Each level is destined for independent function: departure, arrival, and services.

The form of the concourse is simple, but elegant. It is also for the consideration of expansion of the airport in the future.

The concept of interior space is fluid. There are two different spatial characters in concourse space. One is movement, the other is pause. Retails and waiting lounges will be islands for pause. Especially retails are key-tenant in concourse space, not only for the management of airport but also for the impression of airport with high-services. Retails and waiting lounges seem to be made naturally following spatial fluid.

The inner skin is made of very fine net. The movement of this skin gives concourse space elegant atmosphere. When we see the concourse from 14m level it will be marvellous space.



CLIENT/BANDITORE: Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co.,Ltd.

DEVELOPER/ORGANIZZATORE: Shenzhen Planning Bureau + Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co.,Ltd.



Fuksas Associati srl
Reiser + Umemoto (USA)
Kisho Kurokawa (Japan)
GMP_von Gerkan, Marg and partner (Germany)


MQ: 400.000 mq



Architectural Schematic Design
Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas Architects

Project Manager:
Christian Knoll
Fang Tian

Project Team (Rome):
Annunziata Del Monaco
Kai Felix Dorl
Alessandro Miele
Serena Mignatti
Florencia Munoz
Yeol Park
Grazia Patruno
Francesco Schiavello
Junseung Woo

Project Team (Paris):
Alvaro Alzerreca
Amata Boucsein
Jan Horst
Alexander Hugo
Rocco Valantines

Interior Design Team:
Giulio Patrizi
Farshid Tavakolitehrani
Giuseppe Zaccaria

Model Makers:
Nicola Cabiati
Vincenzo Del Monaco
Flor Olivares
Marco Roma
Frauke Stenz
Lorena Tiziana Vacirca
Tommaso Villa

Posted on Saturday April 12th 2008 at 12:22 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy


    beautifull structure.. very airport-like ;-)

  • F


  • lia

    a really sensitive and lighty design.. very very nice!! great combination of structure and surface.

  • nique

    this is simply stunning! best work by fuksas ever..

  • poster

    very nice! the plan is like a plane, though, but the building skin is soooooo attractive

  • tommi

    Great!! i might fly home bcoz of d’ airport in 2015! … however three phases in 30 years is not d’ shenzhen speed i expect, only an aiport, not even a masterplan … well, at least it’s an exciting project from Fuksas

  • kur0yi

    neat physical modell :)

  • pop

    i wonder how come all airports nowadays look like airplanes.

  • mvb


  • leandro locsin

    beautiful skin geometry! if the internal surface of the double layer skin is of different spectrum of colors (fresh green, loud orange, hot pink) it will bring in interesting bleeding shade of light patterns within sections of space. the colors would define zones.

  • Chris

    the cheesegrater!!

    it is spectacular! very inspiring. the structure and skin is beautifaully resolved and combined – and I’m sure it will go some way to ‘makes the air travellers have marvellous impression with comfort’.

    I would like to see more of this double skin and what it does for the building wrt HVAC and the potential for passive systems etc.

    great work.

  • jahwarrior

    pow!pow! -gun shot in the air-

  • Ben

    the chinese are building a coal operated power plant each day, what do they care about passive systems. But the building does have a lot of potentials in this matter. Love the structure & surface!

  • eyeontheworld

    Shame on you T5……This is where its at, and I bet is doesnt cost £4.5 billion to build!!

  • Arch. student

    you people,

    have you not noticed this massive space truss that is holding this ” light and airy” skin, one it is massive, and probably excessively designed, and most importantly, it presents a direct connecion between exterior and interior, I am wondering just how much light will be able to make it to the inside with this massive truss in place…?

    by the way, the skin is nothing new, this kind of surface that has openings morphing in shape from circle to sqaure, check office DA if you have not seen their project, or BIG architects in Denmark

  • ccc

    Oh my God! How much menoy can do it?

  • Sasha

    @ arch student:
    I guess fuksas has been around longer than big or da, nevertheless, there have been lots of similar structures around and there will be more in the future. no reason not to do such structures. I think typologically it fits the function. the form is nothing new, but me thinks it’s still rather fresh, especially with the poché in between the two layers and the resulting thinkness. but what will eventually judge the design, is the concourse. so far it’s the stansted-modell a roof around it…
    nonetheless, massive, but cool.

  • Comb jellies are a primitive phylum with a body structure based on two layers instead of the three that other animals generate from.

    But more than that, it reminds me of baby ‘planes suckeling mommy plane.

    Structurally it’s very interesting though.

  • J

    the skin is obviously very cool, does the rest of design look the same as an ordinary airport, thus the experience will rather similar to an ordinary airport, never the less cool skin, pity the gates look so ordinary too…

    anyway can we see the other entries by foa, R+U, GMP & Kisho Kurokawa?

  • This is a great projet, but i want to see other project i competition…

    I try search, but not found…. :((

    (Sorry for bad english…!)

  • Johnny Utah

    Can anyone tell me how did they made this physical model?

  • i suspect: rhinoceros and/or 3d studio..

  • LGG

    It seems a great building but i’ve heard the design is from a young architect who worked in his studio. When they won the competition Fuksas doesnt allowed him working in this project and he left the studio. I think it is shameful.

  • Vainius

    Il grandissimo progetto!!!

  • Lite

    The physical ones were clearly printed in a 3d printer.
    Very nice project, though!

  • Sun

    @ LGG

    It’s more shameful to affirm things that aren’t true. ;-)

    And yes, the physical model/facade was printet with the 3D Printer.

  • J

    is the physical model not SLS? looks like it..

  • Név*

    somehow reminds me to Le Corbusier.

  • Lite

    I wish i had created the skin

  • nilo

    bravo! Italian creativity is the best

  • abdulqadirabas

    amazingly elegant n beautiful!, i just hope the form cannot be read as a plane..perhaps a lies statement of coincidence form finding will make me say there is thinking inside it…anyway!…it’s sooooo… beautiful!!!!

  • do you know any information about this subject in other languages?

  • Asrul Naim

    The most prestigious project I have seen. But if the T3 completed in 10 years, it will MASSIVELY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • That is the coolest airport I’ve seen

  • Great design

  • janeman

    i like it

  • shaz~

    nicely done.. me likey~

  • alfata
  • megan smith

    This airport looks like Airport in Lublin (Poland)

  • Sara Makki

    I dunno why but it reminds of teh interior of a sports shoe!

  • Oh my God! How much menoy can do it?

  • thank you for sharing Congratulations on a very beautiful designed site

  • That is the coolest airport I’ve seen

  • Very nice. The plan looks like a plane. Great.