1998 - Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong International Airport

From above, the roof gives the building the appearance not of the sea serpent seen from road, train or ferry, but of an aircraft on a scale that not even Howard Hughes would have dreamt of.
The Guardian

Lying at the hub of a global region that reaches across Asia and Australasia, Chek Lap Kok is one of the world's largest and most advanced airports. Completed in 1998 as Hong Kong's sole air terminal, by 2040 it is expected to handle eighty million passengers per annum - the equivalent of London's Heathrow and New York's JFK airports combined. Among the most ambitious construction projects of modern times, the land on which the airport stands was once a mountainous island. In a major reclamation programme, its 100-metre peak was reduced to 7 metres above sea level and the island was expanded to four times its original area - equal to the size of the Kowloon Peninsula.

The terminal building extends a concept pioneered at Stansted Airport - a model since adopted by airport planners worldwide. It is characterised by a lightweight roof canopy, kept free of service installations; the use of natural lighting; and the integration beneath the main passenger concourse of all the technical equipment for baggage handling, environmental services and transportation. With its soaring spaces, bathed in daylight, the terminal building forms a spectacular gateway to the city. Whether arriving or departing, routes are legible and orientation is simple: you are aware of the land on one side and the water on the other and you can see the aircraft. Similarly, the vaulted roof provides a constant reference point as you move to or from your aircraft. Departing passengers pass through the East Hall, the largest airport retail space in the world; if an airport on this scale can be thought of as a city in microcosm then this is its market square.

Travellers reach the airport from Hong Kong via either mainland road or rail links, which cross two purpose-built suspension bridges and a causeway to Lantau Island to the south. Those arriving by train alight at the airport's Ground Transportation Centre, which is fully integrated at the eastern end of the terminal building. Remarkably, the entire train journey between city and airport can be completed in just twenty minutes.

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong China

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  • Appointment 1992
  • Completion 1998
  • Area 516,000m²
  • Capacity 71 million passengers per annum
  • Client Hong Kong Airport Authority
  • Collaborating Architect Anthony Ng Architects Ltd.
  • Structural Engineer Arup
  • Quantity Surveyor WT Partnership
  • Landscape Architect Urbis Travers Morgan Ltd.
  • Lighting Engineer Fisher Marantz Renfro Stone
  • 2005 - Skytrax Airport of the Year – Gold Award
  • 2005 - AETRA Customer Satisfaction Survey - Best Airport Worldwide – Special Recognition Award
  • 2002 - Skytrax Airport of the Year – Gold Award
  • 2002 - ARCASIA Award for Architecture 2001-02 – Gold Medal in category B-4
  • 1999 – Structural Steel Design Award
  • 1999 – International Lighting Design Award of Excellence
  • 1999 – Design Council Millennium Product Award
  • 1999 – International Project of the Year - Construction Quality Awards
  • 1999 – Institute of Structural Engineers Structural Award - Commendation
  • 2011 - Skytrax World Airport Awards, Best Airport
  • 2008 - Skytrax Airport of the Year – Gold Award
  • 2006 - Skytrax Airport of the Year – Silver Award
  • 2004 - Skytrax Airport of the Year – Gold Award
  • 2003 - Skytrax Airport of the Year – Gold Award
  • 2001 - Skytrax Airport of the Year – Gold Award
  • 2001 - Architectural Ironmongery Specification Awards – Winner of the Overseas Public Buildings Category
  • 1998 – HKIA Silver Medal
  • 1998 – British Construction Industry International Award
  • There is the rippling, scalloped curve of the roof as it swoops down to greet you at the car drop-off point, the multi-levelled space that punches up through the building to take you from the underground railway station to the check-in desks. The roof rises to a crescendo over the departure hall, then sweeps down again towards the tarmac, gently ushering you towards the planes.
    Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum
  • Hong Kong International Airport

  • Passengers enter and leave through the vast atrium, with departing passengers passing on glass bridges over the heads of those arriving. There can be few more exhilarating points of entry to any country.
    Kenneth Powell, architecture critic
  • Whether arriving or departing, passengers enjoy a carefully controlled sequence of varied and often breathtaking spaces.
    Chris Abel, author