China Unveils Ultra-Green Honeycomb Airport

Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport

Shenzhen’s Bao’an International Airport has opened a new terminal which boasts a swathe of cutting-edge green innovations.

The new terminal marks a massive upgrade in capacity for Shenzhen’s Bao’an International Airport. It is three times the size of the two pre-existing terminals, consisting of a cross-shaped structure measuring 1,050 metres in length and 650 metres in breadth.

The facility encompasses a staggering 450,000 square metres of floor space and is host to a total of 62 boarding gates which have the ability to accommodate any type of plane currently in operation. Planners estimate that the terminal will be capable of handling approximately 45 million passengers per year.

In addition to its immense size and capacity, the new terminal also boasts a captivating architectural design by Rome-based architectural firm Studio Fuksas, incorporating a range of sophisticated green innovations serving to enhance its efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint.

The most striking aspect of the terminal’s design is it external surface, which consists of a perforated honeycomb structure of intermingled metal and glass. This honey comb structure is host to thousands of hexagonal skylights, which permit the maximum  amount of sunlight to reach the interior of the terminal, thus reducing its energy needs during the day.

Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport


Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport

The surface is also capable of capturing and recycling rainfall, which is used in the airport’s washroom as well as to water its indoor plants.

The most distinctive green feature of the new terminal is its source of energy. Shenzhen Bao’an International has become the first airport in China to be equipped with its own in-house solar plant. The plant has a capacity of 10 megawatts, which is enough to cater to the energy needs of 10,000 US households in a month.

While the terminal’s US$1 billion price tag may appear hefty at first glance, this amount is  a mere seventh the cost of the Terminal Five project for London’s Heathrow Airport, for a facility which is capable of accommodating 30 per cent more passengers.

Shenzhen Bao’an’s new terminal was also built with impressive rapidity, opening at the end of November 2013, a mere four years following the commencement of construction.


Marc Howe is a native of Canberra who spent most of the noughties in Shanghai and Beijing, where he witnessed the flourishing growth of the mainland Chinese construction and mining economies first hand. He has extensive experience as a finance and business journalist, having worked on numerous ren...


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