RSH+P Design Chosen for Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 3: Putting the “Green” in Green Building

The results of the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) Terminal 3 Design Competition have been released. A joint design team, comprising of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH+P) (founded by Pritzker Prize-laureate Richard Rogers), CECI, Arup, Fei & Cheng Associates, Gillespies, the Design Solution, Fraport, OTC Planning & Design and BNP Associates, had its design chosen for the future Terminal 3. Bearing the motto “smart, green, culture“, Terminal 3 will introduce a smarter travelling experience and present the best of Taiwan to travellers from all over the world. Over 2.3 billion US Dollars will be poured into the project, among the most costly constructions in modern Taiwanese history.  The terminal is expected to be opened in 2020 and accommodate 45 million passengers per year, boosting the yearly capacity of the airport to 86 million passengers.


Located between Terminal 2 and CAL Park (China Airlines headquarters), Terminal 3 will have a ground area of 640,000 square meters and include a “processor” (main terminal building), two concourses (on the sides of the processor), and a multi-functional building connecting the existing Terminal 2. After the opening, Terminals 2 and 3 will together form a mega-structure, offering passengers unique shopping, cultural, artistic, and technological experiences.

Detailed Layout of the Terminal
Plan drawing of the Terminal (Click for more details)
Section drawing of the terminal
Section drawing of the terminal (Click for more details)

Praised for its innovative elements and efficient traffic flow planning (minimum connection times of just 40 minutes), the terminal-design of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners was chosen from over 300 proposals, including those of big name-firms such as Foster + Partners (the team of fellow British Pritzker Prize-laureate Norman Foster) and Dutch firm UNStudio (led by Ben van Berkel). Richard Rogers and his associates have designed various world-renowned airport buildings, including the iconic Terminal 4 at Madrid Barajas International Airport and Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport. For the Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 3, associate architect Andrew Tyley was chosen as the project manager while working closely with other firm members, including Ivan Harbour, Lennart Grut, Simon Smithson, Ben Warner, and Richard Rogers himself. Tyley focused on providing airport users with exceptional experiences and designed the terminal accordingly. At the press conference, Tyley stated: “We have created an urban place in a public realm”.

The wave-like roof structure of Terminal 3
The wave-like roof structure of the processor

The following is a direct quote from the news release of RSH+P: “The design is inspired by Taiwan’s beautiful landscapes, the seas surrounding it, its rhythms of nature and life to create a series of unique interior places designed for their purpose and protected beneath an elegant hard shell roof. Within, a soft inner surface is malleable and dynamic to celebrate and form the ever changing spaces below. The nature of the interior spaces whether grand, intimate, uniform or dramatic and the extent of those spaces too can be changed. This adjustable scaling will give passengers spatial clarity in all areas; large, small, busy or quiet, to reduce stress and improve wellbeing and comfort. This flexibility ensures the airport is always at its best and suitably presented as the principal gateway to and from Taiwan to the rest of the world”.

The exterior as seen from various angles (Click for more details)
The exterior as seen from various angles (Click for more details)

We have created a rationally planned and easy to use airport that will be characterised by a flowing sequence of beautifully lit, acoustically comfortable and well-proportioned spaces. It will be an airport where the drama of the spatial experience is shared by all, at all times.

The Terminal 3 processor will have an impressive wave-like roof structure, inspired by Taiwanese elements ranging from traditional roof tiles, the mountains, the seawaves, and the seas of clouds. On the roof, numerous windows that draw natural light into the spacious interiors.

What make the structure extra eye-catching are the 130 thousand fiber optic lightings that will be hung from the ceiling. Controlled through wireless internet, the lights will move up-and-down, or even change in dimness, to reflect the flow of passengers. This ability will create a dynamic visual effect while also distinguishing different areas. For example, lights will be hung higher over main corridors; cafe areas will be marked by lights that are hung lower.

There is another extremely special feature of the architecture: the arrival area will be integrated into the departure area. At Terminal 3, the arrival area will be on a “balcony-like” level above the departure area. Both areas will be right under the beautiful roof structure, thus allowing all passengers, inbound and outbound, to admire the design of the building.

The breathtaking terminal lighting
The processor building lighting at the Check-In Area
The roof as seen from different areas of the processor (Click for more details)
The roof as seen from different areas of the processor (Click for more details)

Equally outstanding is the amount of greenery the team put into the design. Between the processor and concourses will be walls of plants, giving travellers an illusion of being in a mountain valley. Trees will be seen both inside and outside of the buildings, allowing passengers to indulge themselves in a natural atmosphere despite being sheltered by a man-made structure.

The walls of green between the processor and the concourse
The walls of green between the processor and the concourse

As one of the fastest growing airports in the world, Taoyuan International Airport has been speeding up expansions and improving offerings to accommodate increasing traffic and become a premier transit hub. For the short term, Taoyuan International Airport MRT will be completed by mid-2016 to enable easier passenger access from the capital, Taipei City. Long term-wise, a satellite terminal will be built for Terminal 3 while construction plans for a third runway, additional cargo terminals, and maintenance facilities are underway. On the other hand, being finalised is the planning of Taoyuan Aerotropolis, an ambitious urban plan to create an industrial zone surrounding the airport. (However, due to various political reasons, the plan is turbulent at the moment.)

T3 -2

The finished Terminal 3 is likely going to look different from the current design. Nevertheless, we are very much looking forward to the terminal taking shape. The new Terminal 3 will be a new page in Taiwanese aviation history and allow local airlines to not only increase their passenger volume, but also enhance service qualities. David Fei, President & CEO of Taoyuan International Airport Corporation (TTIA), noted: “[Terminal 3] will create brand new travel experiences for passengers and become the pride of all Taiwanese people.” Models of Terminal 3 will be on exhibition at Terminal 2 of Taoyuan Airport and Chiang Kai-Shiek (C.K.S.) Memorial Hall at the heart of Taipei.

EXTRA: Official Video by Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport


One thought on “RSH+P Design Chosen for Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 3: Putting the “Green” in Green Building

  1. Dynamic building! I’m curious how similar it is once the final plan is developed and built? It looks like I will be traveling more to Taipei in my new job and I would like to get back to using BR more frequently when traveling trans-Pacific, so maybe I will have the opportunity to fly through this terminal in a few years.


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