China’s New Mega-feather Airport Set To Open

Ma Yansong, one of China’s most well-known architects, has presented his firm’s concept for a tranquil new airport terminal in Changchun, a city in the Jilin province in the northeast.

After Ma’s Beijing-based MAD Architects won an international competition to design the expansion of Changchun’s Longjia International Airport, the design, which was meant to look like a “floating feather” from above, was unveiled on Tuesday February 4.

The sprawling, fan-shaped structure, which covers nearly 270,000 square meters (2.9 million square feet), will connect with the airport’s two existing terminals and provide direct road and subway connections to downtown Changchun. Its completion is anticipated to accommodate 22 million passengers annually, but no opening date has been set.

The proposal, which was made in collaboration with the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and the China Airport Planning & Design Institute, is one of a slew of eye-catching new or expanded airports opening across China.

Recent projects, overseen by both domestic and international architects, include the renowned Zaha Hadid Architects’ starfish-like Daxing International Airport in Beijing and the mythical sunbird-shaped Chengdu New Tianfu International Airport.

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The Transportation Network Planning Outline that was released by the Chinese government in the beginning of 2021 states that China wants to have 400 airports in use by 2035, which is a significant increase from the 241 airports that were in use in 2020.

The Changchun terminal building has been rendered digitally in white by MAD Architects. Along its graceful arches, slits let in natural light while also emitting artificial light, creating an elegant golden effect. Planes are pictured neatly parked around its 54 gates, anchoring what the company refers to as a “three-finger corridor structure” at the terminal.

“The city’s future major transportation hub is first and foremost a significant public space. The design features trees and an indoor garden, as well as a wooden ceiling that pays homage to the forests that surround it. MAD Architects’ buildings frequently draw inspiration from traditional Chinese “shanshui” (or “mountain and water”) landscape paintings, which have a flowing, curvilinear aesthetic.

Ma is well-known for creating Fake Hills, an undulating oceanfront residential complex in Beihai, southern China, and the Ordos Museum in Inner Mongolia, which was meant to depict the sun rising over the grasslands that surround it.

He is also one of the few Chinese architects who has been awarded major projects outside of China. These projects include the opulent Absolute Towers, also known as “Marilyn,” in Ontario, Canada, and the upcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, a strange-looking arts space founded by George Lucas, the “Star Wars” creator.

The latter, which will open in 2025, will have 100,000 square feet of gallery space and a grassy rooftop.

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