Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport,

Light and the passenger experience over a 24-hour cycle: light effortlessly reveals the building and highlights key orientation features.
Shenzhen Airport
Fuksas Architects
Executive Architect
Leonardo Finotti
Project Team
Keith Bradshaw, Carrie Donahue Bremner

With the airport constantly in operation, we considered the effect of the lighting on the passenger experience over a 24-hour cycle, highlighting key orientation features such as gates, furniture, and signage, to improve legibility and aid wayfinding.

Our focus was in creating the right balance between the spectacular – revealing the form and enhancing the image of the design and the pragmatic – lighting to aid the passenger journey to and from road to air.”

Special care was taken to understand how passengers would perceive the light. We conducted several studies to assess the effects of light distraction and uniformity, and tailed off the lighting at the windows and glass walls to preserve views out.

The 1.5km long building, designed by Studio Fuksas, features a unique undulating double skin roof punctuated by thousands of hexagonal shaped skylights. These create beautiful patterns of light and shadow that animate interior surfaces.

The roof we made into a feature in its own right by lighting the void between the skins, creating a ‘paper lantern effect’ that lifts and frames the space at night.

Outside, the iconic nature of the building demanded lighting that would contribute to a strong identity after dark. .

We washed saturated pale cyan light at apron level and under the building to create the impression that the building is floating on a lagoon, and repeated the effect for the air bridges, creating a visual link between the plane and the terminal.