Beijing Opens Giant Air Terminal

World's largest building transforms Chinese capital's airport
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 11:25 AM CST
Beijing Opens Giant Air Terminal
A worker makes a phone call near jet ways in the new Terminal 3 building at Beijing Airport Tuesday Feb. 26, 2008. The terminal, which opens Friday, is a centerpiece project for the 2008 Olympics and is designed to relieve the overloaded airport's other two terminals and accommodate expected rapid growth...   (Associated Press)

Ahead of this August's Olympics, Beijing is set to open a new airport terminal that has been billed as the world's largest building. Designed by Norman Foster, who also designed Hong Kong's airport, the new Terminal 3 was built in only 4 years and, unlike many buildings in China, incorporates environmental control systems to minimize energy consumption, writes the Independent.

The 2-mile-long terminal is topped by a sloping golden roof with skylights that invoke the raised scales on a mythical dragon's back, letting natural light into the public spaces. "The orientation of the roof means you have a directional flow," said a lead engineer on the project. But for all its beauty, Terminal 3 has a less palatable flipside: it highlights the increasing air traffic that petrifies environmentalists, anticipating the effects of China's growing carbon footprint. (Read more 2008 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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