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Zaha drafted onto £9bn Daxing airport scheme

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Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has been hired to work on the largest airport project in the world - despite failing to make the shortlist in the original contest for the enormous job

It has emerged the Pritzker Prize-winning architect was parachuted onto the Daxing airport scheme in October last year, just one month after French outfit ADP Ingénierie (ADPI) officially landed the £9 billion project in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

Project backer Beijing New Airport Headquarters (BNAH) brought in Hadid to work alongside ADPI to ‘optimise’ concept designs for the airport’s Terminal 1 building.

Pascall + Watson, Buro Happold, Mott Macdonald and EC Harris were also appointed to the new ‘joint design team’ which has now finished its redesign and passed the project over to a Local Design Institute to complete.

ZHA with Pascall + Watson were among six teams originally longlisted for the 700,000m² scheme in September 2011.

But the duo dropped out of the race when ADPI, Foster + Partners and Chinese team CACC/Beijing Institute of Architectural Design were named as the finalists one year later. The other teams defeated at this stage were RSHP with Arup and HOK with Dutch airport specialist Naco.

According to a ZHA statement the joint design team integrated principles developed by the practice and ADPI during their respective competition bids.

The document said: ‘ZHA’s projects include some of the world’s most popular, user-focused and adaptable civic architecture that prioritises the public realm and user experience.

‘This expertise, together with ADPI’s history and knowledge of airport planning and development, will ensure the new terminal at Daxing to be the world’s most convenient, sustainable and future-proof airport.’

Organised by Beijing New Airport Construction Headquarters, the competition was first launched more than three years ago.

Planned to complete in 2018, the new airport 60 kilometres south of Beijing will eventually include up to seven runways and handle more than 100 million passengers annually.

The Terminal 1 building is expected to feature a five kilometre-long façade and handle round 45 million passengers a year. The building will feature 82 seperate aircraft stands.

Foster and Arup completed the new Terminal 3 building at Beijing Capital International Airport six years ago.

However due to China’s growing use of air travel the airport, which is the second busiest in the world, is already at full capacity.


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