Xining, Qinghai Province, China, is known as the northern gateway to Tibet. The VLA proposal for a new terminal at Xining Airport was therefore inspired by the Tibetan Hada tradition, according to which visitors are given scarves of different colours upon arrival. This tradition is carried over into the building via large glass bands of different hues spanning the terminal and finger. As such visitors arriving at Xining are welcomed in the traditional way.
The overall impression is modern and precise. The functions are organized symmetrically around the primary flow axis to ensure simplicity in what are potentially confusing surroundings. Extra focus has been given to the arrival sequence; this is unusual in typical airport buildings. The terminal has been designed as the new gateway to Xining, and so arriving passengers are placed on an arrival balcony passing beneath the colourful glass bands of the roof before dipping dramatically downwards two floors to baggage collection at ground level.
The proposal also includes the complicated rebuilding of the existing Terminal 1, Xining Airport, the functions of which will change drastically in conjunction with the erection of the new terminal.
VLA prepared the proposal in collaboration with Fengyu Architects, Xian, Kina, and with input from Stigaard Consult.