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Competition: How Would You Design the Tianjin International Airport?

New design competition for students, architects, engineers, and designers.
First prize is worth 1500 €.

Information provided by AWR Competitions:
China is rapidly becoming a very sought-after tourist destination and the government is investing in the construction of new airports to open up all regions of the country and to improve both communications and trade. Currently there are over 40 airports at various stages of construction and in a few years when these are complete China will have several airports able to compete as major hubs in Asia.

Tianjin is located in Northern China along the west coast of the Bohai Gulf, looking out to Shandong and Liaoning, bordered by Beijing 120 kilometres (75 mi) to the northwest, and except for the east, is surrounded on all sides by Hebei. Tianjin’s prosperity proved a lure for Western trading nations. In 1856 British and French troops used the boarding of a British ship by Chinese troops in search of pirates as an excuse to attack the forts guarding the Haihe River. The defeated Chinese were forced to sign the 1858 Treaty of Tianjin, which opened the port to foreign trade and to the sale of opium. Other European nations and Japan followed, establishing distinctive independent concessions on the riverside areas, each with a distinctive architectural style -- variously English Victorian, Italian Roman style streets, French chateaux styles, and German Bavarian villas.

Tianjin became a center of urban modernization and internationalism in the early years of the 20th century. Hotels like the Astor received famous guests such as Herbert Hoover and Sun Yat-sen, and one of China’s first lifts was installed there in 1924. Meanwhile, heavy silting of the Haihe River led to construction of a new port at Tanggu, 50 km downriver, as Tianjin lost its character as a major port city. The 1976 Tangshan earthquake caused extensive damage to the city, and it was closed to foreign visitors until repairs were completed. The establishment of the Tianjin Economic and Development Area was a major spur to investment and economic revitalization.

AWR - Architecture Workshop in Rome proposes the design of a new air terminal that can increase the reception capacity of the old airport. The design process must be observed especially by climatic and environmental aspects of the area to explore issues related to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of such works.


Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city is the 2nd flagship Government-to-Government project between Singapore and China after Suzhou Industrial Park. The project was mooted by then Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in April 2007, against the backdrop of rapid urbanisation and increasing global attention on the importance of sustainable development.

On 18 November 2007, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signed a Framework Agreement for Singapore and China to jointly develop Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city.The Tianjin Eco-city’s vision is to be “A thriving city which is socially harmonious, environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient – a model for sustainable development”. This vision is underpinned by the concepts of “Three Harmonies” and “Three Abilities”.

“Three Harmonies” refers to:
• People living in harmony with other people, i.e. social harmony
• People living in harmony with economic activities, i.e. economic vibrancy
• People living in harmony with the environment, i.e. environmental sustainability

“Three Abilities” refers to the Eco-city being:
Practicable - the technologies adopted in the Eco-city must be affordable and commercially viable
Replicable - the principles and models of the Eco-city could be applied to other cities in China and even in other countries
Scalable - the principles and models could be adapted for another project or development of a different scale

The Terminal project should develop the above mentioned guidelines. We recommend to conceptualize the designs in the form of diagrams and sketches to illustrate different stages of the proposal from the concept to the final project.


The Eco-city site is situated 40 km from Tianjin city centre and 150 km from Beijing city centre. It is located within the Tianjin Binhai New Area – one of the fastest growing regions in China. Tianjin Binhai New Area is in turn located in the Bohai Bay region (which covers Beijing, Tianjin and part of Hebei Province), which has been identified as the next growth engine in China, after the Pearl River delta and Yangtze River delta.

Tianjin Eco-city has a total land area of 30 sq. km. When fully completed in around 2020, it will have a population of 350,000 residents. The start-up area is scheduled for completion by end-2013.

Prior to the development of the Eco-city, the site comprised mainly saltpans, barren land and polluted water-bodies, including a 2.6 sq km large wastewater pond.

This preliminary view is an important part of the new design proposal for the new international airport terminal which will meet the new traffic requirements that will be generated within the area after the completion of the original masterplan. The contents of this project are: to provide a project basis coherent with the maps provided (see download area), to operate according to the project contents mentioned below.

• Terminal general masterplan.
• Terminal conceptual design.
• Graphic representation of taxiways and flight space systems (example material available in download area).
• Particular attention to the main facades with perspective views and bidimensional drawings (entrance side and gates side).
• General views and interior views about division and modeling of the space of the complex.

The Site

The new terminal will be built on the site currently occupied by the Tianjin Tanggu Airport, a small airport coastline. The total surface area of the project is about 6.5 million square meters. Within this area, the designer has complete freedom to define the terminal project, which will cover an area no larger than 2 million square meters.

The remaining 4.5 million square meters will be redistributed and allocated to the crops and salt marshes in the area.
The terminal must meet the following basic features:
• 20 gates.
• 2 tracks landing / takeoff should be oriented 360 EST, dim. 3,600 mt x 45 mt.
• Parking area with 2,000 covered parking spaces and 5000 uncovered.
• Commercial area.

There are no volumetric limits. The airport will be accessible from the existing road to the northeast of the project area.


Students, architects, engineers, and designers are invited to participate to this competition. Admissions will be accepted for individuals as well as teams. Teams should be made up of no more than five members and can be multidisciplinary.

Teams can have members of different nationalities and, if students, they don’t necessarily have to study in the same center. The registration fee are for teams and not for each participant or member of the team. Each team may submit only one project proposal that corresponds to the amount paid. The submission of more than one project proposal may be made only after the payment of additional fees.

The projects submitted are considered by the author that logs in to the Site and enter this competition. Every copyright infringement will be punished with immediate disqualification, excluding any compensation for the registration fee.


1st prize: 1500 €
2nd prize: 1000 €
3rd prize: 500 €
+ 5 honorable mentions


Special registration (October 25, 2012 - December 20, 2012): 50 €
Early registration (December 21, 2012 - January 15, 2013): 75 €
Late registration (January 16, 2012 - February 15, 2012): 100 €

For more information and questions, make sure to visit AWR competitions.

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