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
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...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.