B1 Intermediate UK 432 Folder Collection
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China is no stranger to record-breaking infrastructure projects.
Already home to the world's largest dam, longest ocean crossing and most extensive
high-speed rail network, the country has now completed one of the largest airports ever conceived.
Home to one of the world's largest economies, the demand for air travel in and out of China is extreme.
As the nation's centre of political power - and as the second-largest city in a country
of more than 1.3BN people - the pressure on Beijing is particularly intense.
Plans for a second international airport were first proposed in 2008, while the existing
Beijing Capital International was undergoing a USD $3.5BN expansion ahead of the summer
Olympic Games.
Despite these works, forecasts predicted that, even with its expansion to cater for 83 million
passengers annually, the airport would exceed its capacity within just a few years of the
extension being completed.
Sure enough, the facility reached capacity in 2012 and by 2016 more than 100 million
passengers were travelling through the airport each year.
To alleviate pressure on the existing airport and safeguard Beijing's economic growth,
a new hub was conceived.
With initial proposals suggesting nine runways and capacity for more than 200 million passengers
each year, the vast Daxing International was originally intended to replace Beijing Capital
as the city's main airport.
However, in 2014 the decision was taken to operate both facilities simultaneously and
to scale back the new airport's design.
Initially constructed with four runways and capacity for 72 million passengers each year,
Daxing International can be expanded to seven runways and could serve up to 100 million
passengers annually when fully developed.
Plans for the new airport were released by Zaha Hadid Architects in early 2015.
Collaborating with airport specialists ADPI on the main terminal building, Hadid moved away from the
linear model of airport design - which often created sprawling facilities - and instead
introduced a six-pointed star arrangement that puts passengers less than 600 metres
- around an 8-minute walk - from any departure gate.
While one arm of the building operates as an administrative centre, the remaining five
accommodate the airport's 79 departure gates.
Daxing International incorporates a number of high-speed rail and metro links to Beijing
and the surrounding provinces.
The airport will have a dedicated stop on the new Beijing-Xiong-an Intercity Railway
- placing it just 20 minutes from Beijing - while the Intercity Railway Connector will
provide a direct link to Beijing Capital International and neighbouring regions.
There will also be a link to the city's subway system.
While many airport links around the world deliver passengers to the outskirts of facilities,
the numerous connections to Daxing International will arrive beneath the terminal, enabling
direct access to the departure levels.
In order to withstand the vibrations caused by high-speed trains that can travel up to
250km/h beneath the terminal in an active seismic zone, 1,000 anti-seismic isolation
bearings were built into the terminal's ground floor slab allowing the structure to
withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale.
With 197,000 passengers expected to use the airport each day, Daxing International will
operate a largely “paperless” system that features AI facial recognition at check-in,
self-service bag drop facilities and real-time mobile baggage tracking.
It will also be the first airport in the world to operate vertically stacked dual departure and arrival floors.
This approach enables faster check-in and security screenings while significantly reducing
the distances that passengers travel between connecting flights.
Extending for over a million square metres, Daxing International's terminal building
is one of the largest single structures ever built.
Formed from over 1.6 million cubic metres of concrete and some 52,000 tonnes of steel,
the building integrates photovoltaic (PV) panels and rainwater harvesting systems across
its vast undulating roof.
Reaching practical completion in 2018, the first flight inspections took place in January
2019 while finishing touches were made to the terminal building's interior.
While the airport offers many of the retail, dining and entertainment options found in
most hubs, Daxing International will also feature an interactive pet hotel, childcare
and nursery facilities and hybrid online retail and dining experiences for passengers.
Meanwhile, on the runways, aircraft taking off and landing will be protected from birds
or civilian drones by an Israeli AI software monitoring system.
The entire airport cost almost USD $12BN to deliver. While this makes it easily one of
the world's largest construction projects, it is notably less than the projected USD
$17BN required to construct a third runway at London Heathrow.
Having now completed its operational testing, Daxing International is set to welcome its
first flight on 30 September 2019, less than five years since construction works first began.
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Building China's $12BN Mega Airport | The B1M

432 Folder Collection
Zenn published on September 19, 2019
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