Architecture – Like a snowflake that has gently fallen onto the earth, MAD Architects‘ proposed new Terminal of Harbin Taiping International Airport creates an architectural poetry tuning with the surrounding landscape. The project “simultaneously expresses itself as a surreal, interstellar space of future air travel,” says MAD Architects founder Ma Yanson to Archipanic.
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“Our goal is to break-the-mould of the typical modern mega-airport, bringing humanity, nature, and the local environment together into a highly-functional architectural programme.”
The Harbin airport’s occupies an important strategic position in the core of Northeast Asia’s hinterland. Covering an area of 3,300 hectares, the terminal is designed to serve 43 million passengers on 320,000 outgoing flights per year.
While the massiveness of the snowflake-inspired terminal is inevitable, MAD’s design manages to establish “an architectural program that is human-scale, and provides a multi-sensory, practical and energy saving experience”.
The scheme’s snowflake-shaped, five-finger departure corridors 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.
The interior has been landscaped with a number of indoor gardens that demarcate major zones of the terminal. They form lush areas of greenery that connect the building’s different levels, and offer an escape for passengers to pause and take a moment within nature, away from the hustle and bustle of airport life.
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 snowflake-inspired terminal proposal comprises of a series of ancillary airport facilities, including ground transportation hubs, hotel, retail, and parking lots, that will efficiently serve the area.
All images: courtesy of MAD Architects.