Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong, Foster and Partners, Aedas
Construction year: 2012, 2015
Address: 1 Sky Plaza Rd | HONG KONG | Hong Kong
Latitude/Longitude: 22.31555, 113.93535
Architect(s):

Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, which largely comprises land reclaimed for the construction of the airport itself.

A 1974 planning study by the Civil Aviation and Public Works departments identified the small island of Chek Lap Kok, off Lantau Island, as a possible airport replacement site. Away from the congested city centre, flight paths would be routed over the South China Sea rather than populous urban areas, enabling efficient round-the-clock operation of multiple runways. The Chek Lap Kok (CLK) airport master plan and civil engineering studies were completed towards the end of 1982 and 1983 respectively.

In 1988, the Port & Airport Development Strategy (PADS) Study was undertaken by consultants, headed by Mott MacDonald Hong Kong Limited, reporting in December 1989. This study looked at forecasts for both airport and port traffic to the year 2011 and came up with three recommended strategies for overall strategic development in Hong Kong. One of the three assumed maintaining the existing airport at Kai Tak; a second assumed a possible airport in the Western Harbour between Lantau Island and Hong Kong Island; and the third assumed a new airport at Chek Lap Kok.

The construction period of Hong Kong International Airport was very rushed; specialists considered that only a 10–20-year period was sufficient for this massive project. Another cause for this rush was due to the uncertain future of the airport construction after the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. It was originally believed that Beijing preferred to keep everything basically intact and minimise financial commitments for big projects, therefore stopping all construction despite the need for the new airport. In practice, the airport did not finish in time for the handover. However, China gave an additional year’s grace period to finish the project.

Construction of the new airport was only part of the Airport Core Programme, which also involved construction of new road and rail links to the airport, with associated bridges and tunnels, and major land reclamation projects on both Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon. The project is the most expensive airport project ever, according to Guinness World Records. Construction of the new airport was voted as one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century at the ConExpo conference in 1999.

The detailed design for the airport terminal was awarded to a consortium led by Mott Connell (the Hong Kong office of UK consultant Mott MacDonald) with British Airports Authority as specialist designers for airport related aspects, Foster and Partners as architects and Ove Arup as specialist structural designers for the roof. Also the architectural firm Aedas comissioned the interior design of the terminal of the airport. Mott Connell were the designers for foundations, all other structural components and the mechanical and electrical work. Project architects were Foster and Partners. The sides of the terminals, predominantly glass, were designed to break during high speed winds, relieving pressure and allowing the terminal to withstand an intense typhoon.



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