China’s garden city Lishui’s first airport is designed by MAD Architects

Construction has recently begun on the new airport in the Zhejiang province in China, featuring a sculptural white canopy inspired by birds in flight.

The first airport in Lishui, Zhejiang Province in China, was recently unveiled by a project signed MAD Architects.

Located about 15 kilometers southwest of the “garden city”, the infrastructure is designed as a harmonious addition to the surrounding natural landscape. Indeed, the topography of the master plan prioritizes respect for the existing hilly terrain while ensuring accessibility for passengers.

Attention to the mountainous environment is then reflected in the airport's sculptural form and organic roof characterized by a design inspired by birds in flight.

MAD Architects, Lishui Airport, Zhejiang, China. Courtesy MAD Architects

“Lishui is a garden city, and its airport should be too,” says the firm’s founder, Ma Yansong. “As a municipal airport, Lishui Airport embodies the essence of transportation facilities as public spaces, prioritizing convenience, human scale and city identity over sheer grandeur and excess.”

Inside the airport terminal, the firm curated a welcoming atmosphere with wood finishes. Here, a shuttle-shaped skylight not only allows natural light in, but also contributes to the airport’s energy efficiency.

Lishui is a garden city, and its airport should be too.

Ma Yansong

The one-and-a-half-story layout optimizes passenger flow, with departures on the ground floor and waiting areas on the second floor. In addition, a central landscaped path within the recessed parking area further enhances the connection between passengers and the surrounding space.

For the airport-expected to be completed by the end of 2024-passenger capacity is expected to reach 1.8 million by 2030 and five million by 2050. Plans also call for the addition of an international terminal to meet future travel demands. 

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