Beijing's new international terminal is the world's largest and most advanced airport building - not only technologically, but also in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and sustainability. Its soaring aerodynamic roof and dragon-like form celebrate the thrill and poetry of flight and evoke traditional Chinese colours and symbols. The terminal building and Ground Transportation Centre (GTC) enclose a floor area of 1.3 million square meters and will accommodate an estimated 50 million passengers per annum by 2020. Public transport connections are fully integrated, walking distances for passengers are short, with few level changes, and transfer times between flights are minimized. Like Chek Lap Kok, the terminal is open to views to the outside and planned under a single unifying roof canopy, whose linear skylights are both an aid to orientation and sources of daylight - the colour cast changing from red to yellow as passengers progress through the building.
The terminal building is one of the world's most sustainable, incorporating a range of passive environmental design concepts, such as the south-east orientated skylights, which maximize heat gain from the early morning sun, and an integrated environment-control system that minimizes energy consumption. In construction terms, its design optimized the performance of materials selected on the basis of local availability, functionality, application of local skills, and low cost procurement. Remarkably, it was designed and built in just four years.