Zhengzhou International Airport (CGO) New Passenger Terminal Complex Architectural Design

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The project is a part of CGO’s Phase 3 Expansion plan. It includes a new terminal 3 building, one or multiple satellite terminals, and a ground transportation center (GTC).¬†With this expansion, CGO will upgrade its throughput capacity to about 130 million passengers annually by the Year 2045.

We based our design on IATA’s Optimum Level of Service (LoS) criteria in space standards and in departure and arrival waiting time and comfort level. For certain specific functions such as security, customs, immigration, and inspection, we followed China’s requirements for a medium to upper comfort range. To achieve the best passenger experience, our design set a maximum walking distance of 250 meters without walking assistance, and 650 meters with walking assistance.

We placed international departure on the 4th floor at 16.5 meters in elevation, domestic departure on the 3rd floor at 10.5 meters, international arrival on the 2nd floor at 4.5 meters, and domestic arrival on the first floor at -1.5 meters. We designed a 2-level departure curbside drop-off and a 2-level arrival pickup, each exclusively for domestic and international, for a maximum curbside length and efficient landside connection.

We place the GTC Center literally under one roof with the central terminal hall to best integrate the two important spaces of the terminal. Passengers will move from one space to the other easily and intuitively. GTC will work as an extension of the terminal in providing retail amenities, early check-in facilities, transfer, car rental, sleep-over pots, and more. The floor levels of GTC are fully aligned with that of the terminal.


The architecture of the new terminal design is inspired by the CGO Airport site’s history, which dates back more than 9000 years and is one of the oldest civilizations in China. Our designers studied the ruins of Peiligang and took note of the earliest circular dwelling on the singular pillar. We used this ancient yet basic element for the structural module of the main terminal hall. This striking visual element gives the terminal a mystic feeling of timelessness, reinforcing the historic ties with CGO’s historical background.

Adding to the terminal+GTC spatial series, we designed a commercial complex, connecting it to GTC and the terminal with underground roadways, APM trains, and the city’s light-rail system. We call this commercial complex the “extended landside of the passenger terminal”. This sums up why we feel this commercial complex is important for the operations of the terminal and should be planned together with it. Very typically, most airports need to have support facilities near their terminal buildings. These include hotels, restaurants, shops, banks, fitness centers, and even medical clinics, in a way, all those that are essential for the daily needs of the passengers, and employees of the airport. The larger the airport, the more people, and the bigger this complex. The commercial complex will make the terminal the business center.

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