China’s “sponge” airport with paper-thin roof is finished

Construction is complete on Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport in China’s eastern Shandong province.

It will be able to handle 35 million passengers a year, along with 500,000 metric tons of cargo, and 298,000 landings and takeoffs.

Citing Chinese media, CNN reports that the airport cost $5.8bn to build and occupies a plot that is twice the size of London’s Heathrow.

The terminal building is shaped like a starfish, and is roofed with 223,000 sq m of stainless steel, giving rise to claims that it is the world’s largest single steel plate.

It is just 0.5mm thick, as thin as A4 paper, with all joints welded to form a seamless, waterproof covering.

The airport building acts as a "sponge" to collect, store and recycle rain, and it has an "independent energy centre", reports state media.

It is intended to be a transit hub for north east Asia, with Qingdao’s seaport currently a trading link with Japan and South Korea.

In 2014 Atkins and China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute (CSWADI) won a contract for master planning, airfield design, transport planning, landscaping and water engineering for the airport.

Images courtesy of Atkins

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