Selected Projects

Chaoshan Airport invited design Competition

Shenzen - Hong Kong, PR China, 2007


Joint Venture company Woodhead Interplan was invited to submit an entry to the Chaoshan Airport Invited Design Competition.

Chaoshan airport Terminal has been designed for 16 million passenger per year in its final expansion phase of 2035, and it will be built in the Shenzen – Hong Kong area, PR China. 


We wanted to provide a Terminal Building concept that would not only provide an effective and comfortable space for the passengers, but also an architectural system that would somehow resist the international pressure for homologation and standardisation of airport environment.


To facilitate this sort of regional resistance, we decided to identify an element fo the Chinese tradition which we intended to use in a new way, combining it with a sense of lightness and completion. The traditional pagoda roof construction appeared perfect to this aim.

An abstraction of the traditional roof provided the geometry and the structural concept for the roof of the terminal modules. The roof proved to be an effective constructive geometry, as well as a good conveyor of regional identity and natural light.


Bearing in mind the need to shorten as much as possible the passenger walking distance from kerbside to aircraft, we explored the possibility of reducing the transversal dimension of the terminal building to the maximum possible extent, by facilitating longitudinal flows and processes inside the terminal building. This condition is particularly advantageous with regards of the pier configuration established, as all movements of people are managed perpendicular to the three piers and between them.


Our general approach in addressing the design of the passenger terminal was one that focuses on the needs and experiences of the passenger at every stage of their travel process.

The establishment of a ‘sense of place / brand’ was crucial, as said, for the identification of the cover of the terminal and its overall perception as landmark and icon of the geographical location.

The new airport will focus on passenger facilities, ease of use and an expression of the local community.  The passenger’s comfort and amenity is primary.  As such all design is focused around the experiences and facilities that a passenger will require when moving through a transportation facility.


Above all, the passenger’s comfort and amenity is primary, especially to alleviate anxiety, increase comfort and thus the propensity to spend.  As such the design should focus around the experiences and facilities that a passenger will require when moving through the facility.  Diverse facilities, such as toilets, baby change rooms, quiet areas and entertainment, are to be clearly defined, convenient and integrated with the overall design concept.  General seating areas will be close to and compatible with retail.  The retail experience will support passenger wayfinding with clear and logical signage balancing both wayfinding and retail needs.


That approach results in a very clear interior plan, with intuitive passenger paths establishing a logical sequence of processes which intend to minimize the presence of departing passengers in the departures hall, and augment the time they spend in the departures concourse airside, after the security screening.



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