Wintry surrounds echoed in ‘snowflake’ terminal design

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Led by Ma Yansong, MAD Architects of Beijing has released its design for Terminal 3 of Harbin Taiping International Airport. Referencing the gentle slopes of China’s northern plains and the region’s snow and ice, MAD has conceived a terminal building that echoes the characteristics of Harbin’s geography and climate.

The capital of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin serves as one of the largest transportation hubs in Northeast Asia. Covering an area of 3,300ha, Terminal 3 of Harbin Airport will consist of a series of ancillary airport facilities, including ground transportation hubs, hotel, retail and parking lots.

The terminal’s snowflake-shaped, five-finger departure corridors will greatly shorten the time it takes for passengers to arrive at their gate, while also minimizing congestion and improving the overall efficiency of the airport apron, according to MAD.

Ridges on the roof that mimic snowdrifts function as skylights, flooding the internal spaces with the warmth of the sun, reducing the need for artificial light. At the same time, their rhythmic direction naturally guides travelers through the space.

The Ground Transportation Center (GTC) hub will bring high-speed rail, municipal subway lines, airport buses and other urban transport together, conveniently connecting Harbin City to the airport and surrounding amenities. The multi-tiered GTC’s garden layout is designed to provide a comfortable and relaxing area for travelers as they transition between the city and the airport.

By 2030, Terminal 3 of Harbin Taiping International Airport is expected to reach an annual throughput of 43 million passengers, with approximately 320,000 outgoing flights per year.

MAD’s concept is intended to break-the-mold of the typical modern mega-airport, bringing humanity, nature and the local environment together into a highly functional architectural program – a new vision for 21st century travel.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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