Zaha Hadid unveils designs for "world's largest
airport passenger terminal" in Beijing

Zaha Hadid new airport terminal for Beijing

News: architect Zaha Hadid is working with airport specialist ADPI on plans for a major new terminal in Daxing, Beijing, that will accommodate 45 million passengers per year.

Zaha Hadid new airport terminal for Beijing

The Beijing New Airport Terminal Building will be located on the opposite side of the city from Beijing's existing Capital Airport, which was completed in 2008 by Foster + Partners but is already exceeding its planned capacity – despite being one of the biggest airports in the world.

ADPI won the bid to design a new Beijing airport in 2011. The firm has now teamed up with Zaha Hadid Architects to develop its proposal – billed to become the "the world's largest airport passenger terminal".

According to the architects, the terminal will have a flexible layout that will allow it to be adapted into different configurations. It will also be connected to local and national rail services, including the Gao Tie high-speed rail.

Zaha Hadid new airport terminal for Beijing

According to the team, the Daxing airport will be "a key hub within Beijing's growing transport network and a catalyst for the region's economic development, including the city of Tianjin and Hebei Province".

Consultants Buro Happold, Mott Macdonald and EC Harris will work alongside the design team to deliver the project.

London-based Hadid has so far never completed an airport. She previously unveiled a concept for one in Zagreb, Croatia, and was rumoured to be working on plans for a major new terminal in the south east of England. She was also shortlisted for Mexico City's new airport, but lost out to Norman Foster and Fernando Romero.

Renderings by Methanoia.

  • M. Vitruvius

    Is this designed for the pilots and passengers in the air? Because this, like all airport terminals, will be completely wasted on the people actually using it. They will be otherwise preoccupied by working, catching a plane or getting their luggage before going home.

    • It’s become something of a broken record to read in a detractor’s comment; “If a building looks good from a bird view, then it wasn’t designed with the user in mind”. The first statement “building’s top view” has no bearing on the second statement “user’s experience”. This is a logical fallacy, make it stop!

      That said, I presume the wavy roof aesthetics work equally both indoor and outdoor, how is that a waste?

      • M. Vitruvius

        The broken record is a way of making a point when two-sided communication with the use of arguments has proven to be useless. It seems that lots of architects are not listening to arguments concerning the users, so there you have it.
        The problem that I have with a lot of architecture is that both the inside and the outside are designed, but for me as an interior designer I value the inside more. I want to know if the interior is user-friendly and, as you say, what the user’s experience is. Unfortunately lots of architects value the outside more because this is the part of the project that is most visible and will give good (or bad) publicity. This airport is most definitely designed from the outside inwards whereas good user friendly architecture is designed from the inside working outwards.
        This project may stil be good though, time will tell.

  • With the air quality in Beijing, no one will ever see this building.

  • WaxWing

    What kind of roof is that?

    • waxOn_waxOff

      The one that, you know, covers the building. Also, it’s quite roofy.

      • SteveLeo

        It makes me want to take a roofy and forget I’ve ever seen it.

  • Jonathan Tuffin

    I appreciate a good airport terminal when I’m travelling. At the weekend I was able to contrast Heathrow Terminal 4 with Hamad International in Doha – I know which I preferred being in.

  • Joseph Kelly

    Looks like a platypus hide.

    • Paul

      I agree, It does look like a platypus that’s been flattened out on a road.

      • Arjay Cee

        Sometimes, a platypus is just a platypus, as Freud might have said.

        This, now, is clearly a platypus vagina.

  • jinping xi

    No more weird buildings, Miss Hadid.

  • Laura


  • Flesh roof?

  • Endworld

    Wait… I remember President Xi said something like “stop building more strange buildings”.

  • Elliot Morgan

    The orange sections of the roof are clearly ramps for planes to take off from. Slingshot into the air! Woooooooo

  • Stephen Mallory

    This looks very lazy. Thrown together in 5 minutes.

    • right

      Ok. If you say so.

  • Jon

    Wow, she has done it. A building that actually looks like a giant sphincter.

    • Architit

      Excellent observation. Henceforth, it shall be known as the “cat’s arse”.

  • TFO

    If there was ever an opportunity to design a large vagina, this would have been it. Maybe the for the aircraft hangar building?

  • Neek

    The way the surfaces flow into columns – love it, but is it a rip-off of Frei Otto and Ingehoven’s Stuttgart 21, or a tasteful reference?

    • Daniel

      Good call, I think it has some Saarinen TWA terminal thrown in the mix too.

  • Benlulu

    Is the biggest the best, I don’t think so! Please change your mind about protecting the environment.

  • Dave Carcamano

    Looks great, finally an airport that doesn’t remind you of a warehouse.

  • Ben

    Lots of hate in these comments. Get up, get dressed, and go out and make some architecture…

  • Bruno de Paris

    The world’s largest airport is actually Al Maktoum International Airport, 120 Mpax, designed by ADPI (

  • Simos

    I really like the Frei Otto Stuttgart train station roof-skylight-to-column elements. It’s being a while since somebody copied it, especially since Stuttgart will not build the project.

  • Seems like the fundamental airport requirements in planning are taken care of – the big collector space with the concourse arms, the parking garage in the foreground split by the arrival/departure lanes. The basic solution with some Zaha flair.

  • livid lili

    Has anyone seen Star Trek “Encounter at Farpoint”? Because that’s what this looks like.

  • Joseph Strawbridge

    Can’t wait to see it realised.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    I wonder about the acoustics of that main section. Thousands of people under the same ceiling could create quite the cacophony.