The new Terminal 3 of Harbin Taiping International Airport. Source: i-mad.
We are all curious about what the airports of the future will look like. What kind of facilities will be present at the airport, how easily it will be to go through TSA and what kind of aircraft will land there?
Maybe the airports of the future will host electric aircraft? Or maybe the new supersonic jets, like Boom’s Overture?
What about architecture? Well, if I can’t answer all of the questions I have provided above, at least I can answer this one.
Rather, the proposed design of Terminal 3 at Harbin International Airport can answer the question for me.
Located at the North-East corner of China, Harbin International Airport welcomed its first flight in 1979. Harbin’s main airport slowly cemented itself as the central hub of all travel in the province of Heilongjiang.
So much so, that not even 20 years after the airport opened its doors for the first time, the Chinese government ordered a renovation and an expansion. The work commenced in 1994 and finished in 1997.
Currently, Harbin International Airport has a 4E aircraft technical grade, meaning it can handle such aircraft as the Boeing 747. HRB serves mostly domestic flights within China. However, some airlines do fly to international destinations to Russia, South Korea, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam.
The airport has steadily seen rising passenger numbers. For example, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), the airport served over 16 million passengers in 2016. In 2017, that number was at more than 18 million.
Harbin International Airport has just recently expanded, as the all-new Terminal 2 has opened up in 2018.
Because the possibility to grow is there, as the authorities expect a potential 43 million passengers per year to arrive or departure from Harbin Taiping, one more terminal has been announced by the airport.
The airport expects the new terminal to open in 2030.
In addition to welcoming new passengers, it seems like the terminal will welcome the future.
The architectural firm that is designing the new airport facilities, MAD Architects went truly mad in a good way when constructing the idea of the new terminal.
As the press release states, the new terminal takes up inspiration from the “the gentle slopes of China’s vast Northern plains, and the region’s immense snow and ice”.
Harbin Taiping International Airport’s new terminal compares to a snowflake “that has gently fallen onto the earth”, while at the same time “simultaneously expressing itself as a surreal, interstellar space of future air travel.”
And the airport definitely emits a smell of the future – bright, innovative, spacious and mesmerizing to look at.
In addition to the numerous Gates for aircraft to disembark or to pick up passengers, the Terminal will also provide state of the art connectivity with other Terminals in Harbin Taiping Airport and efficient solutions to minimize traffic within the airport itself.
A separate Ground Transportation Center will connect train, metro and busses together under one roof. The aim of the GTC will be to reduce the emissions generated by civilian cars, as the center will provide great connectivity to Harbin and other surrounding cities.
Most importantly, MAD Architects plan to reduce the stress caused by travel and help soothe the emotions of passengers by incorporating multiple indoor gardens into the interior.
All in all, if all airports in the future will look like Harbin Taiping‘s Terminal 3, nobody would mind that sight.
Simply put, the newly proposed terminal looks simply stunning. Not only it has the looks, but it provides a fast and smooth travel experience, something that today‘s airports struggle to provide with out-dated building designs.
More pictures, courtesy of MAD Architects: