Beijing opens the doors this week to its latest Olympic creation, a massive glass and steel airport terminal with a graceful sloping roof that will welcome visitors to the Summer Games.
Fronted by pillars of deep imperial red, Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport boasts skylights that give it a dragon-like appearance. The huge, airy interior will have 64 Western and Chinese restaurants, 84 retail shops, and a state-of-the-art-baggage handling system. A high-speed commuter train will whisk passengers into the city, while the runway is capable of handling Airbus huge A380 superjumbo.
Designed by British architect Norman Foster, the building attempts to combine traditional architectural elements with up-to-date technology. Its red columns and muted gold roof are meant to evoke Beijings imperial palaces and temples. It took just under four years to build the terminal, its runway and most of the related infrastructure, a compressed timetable to ensure it was ready for the Olympics.
The Games are a source of great pride to the Chinese, and Beijing has been turned into a massive construction site over the last seven years as it undergoes a $40 billion makeover.