All images courtesy of UNStudio
UNStudio has revealed their proposed design for Terminal 3 of Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport. The scheme was awarded 2nd prize among the shortlisted competitors, behind British firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. UNStudio’s concept seeks to challenge the accepted utilitarian approach to airport design in an effort to propose a new standard for efficient and sustainable mass infrastructure. Developed with a core team — comprising Bio-architecture Formosana from Taipei and April Yang Design Studio from Ohio — the project reexamines the airport typology through an analysis of the existing terminals at Taoyuan, while anticipating airport operational requirements and the spatial constraints of the site.
Using personal travel experience as a starting point, the team felt that in recent times airport architecture has become rigidly prescribed as a typology with an excessive and monotonous use of space. With ‘place making’ at the center of the design concept, the team strove to distinguish its design by creating an interior ecology distinct from the look and feel of comparable airports. The scheme is further characterized by its efficiency, with short walking distances and optimized airport functions following the principles of natural wayfinding. Additionally, a small footprint allows for a quick building assembly with a prefabrication strategy.
‘The building design provides a clear organization that offers passengers high efficiency, while satisfying the need for physical convenience and comforts,’ explains Ben Van Berkel, founder of UNStudio. ‘With the aim of the client to be among the top of the international airports in the region, it was necessary to develop a concept that conflates functionality, atmosphere and flexibility – an airport that is sustainable from the get go.’
Internally, sequential spaces seek to privilege comfort, ease of use and orientation. Conceived as micro climates, the different areas are defined by physical conditions related to daylight, humidity, temperature and air flow. By locating the main entrance of the terminal building at the south-west end of the site, the terminal’s main entrance has been designed to become the most visually prominent façade for the entire airport with an undulating roof guiding the public to the various entrances.