Nordic’s winning concept for the Chongqing Jiangbei International Terminal 3B interior

Terminal 3B

Nordic — Office of Architecture won the interior design competition for the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport Terminal 3B in Chongqing, China. Inspired by the local rivers, Nordic collaborated with UDG, ADC and Lichtvision to create a journey where passengers travel through a history of Chongqing’s rich culture and scenery, using past, present, and future themes.

The design concept is based on architectural elements that gradually build up for clear and intuitive wayfinding—from arrival at the terminal to the departure gates. The terminal’s identity is rooted in Chongqing’s traditions. It is a place that shows visitors the characteristics and novelties of the area, and a place that locals recognise as home. The team used a variety of geometries to create movement and pause.

Linear geometries are inspired by the local rivers and used to show movement and flows, creating an important wayfinding element throughout the terminal. Areas for pause are marked with closed smooth shapes, formed by fixed furniture and design details. Along the flow, are “islands” and “banks” meant for interaction, with exciting and engaging offerings that showcase the flavours and sights of Chongqing.

The departure floor is a river, flowing to the gates. There are different landscapes along the river, from city to nature. The area above level 3 is dedicated to the future. Here, art and technology are used to illustrate new ideas and developments, creating rich and diverse attractions from the centre to the gates. At level 3, the story shifts to the present, focusing on Chongqing’s cityscape, the region’s topography, its landscape and villages, and our connection to nature.

The flow of rivers and undulating landscapes provide a conceptual thread that defines circulation to gates, interspersed with islands of calm for pause, and linked with synergistic commercial programmes along the passenger journey. Throughout the journey, from the arrival at the APM platform on level 0 up to level 3, the application of materials, finishes, graphics and wall treatments was carefully considered in order to demonstrate the region’s rich history and topography.

This also provides an animated storytelling for departing and arriving passengers. The four external gardens on the departure level have themes following four landscape typologies typical of the region: the canyon, the river, the bamboo grove and the flower garden. Each garden is a unique experience and is programmed with experiential features for wellbeing. The character for each garden is used in the north and south plazas, giving a differentiation to the two plazas.

The gardens are accessible from the central axis and through the retail units facing them. The Chongqing T3B is programmed with experiences intrinsically linked to Chongqing. A strong brand identity creates the setting for a diverse offering of experiences, including retail and a varied range of F&B opportunities. Additionally, the team proposed supplementary experiential programmes for art, nature, and entertainment.

The combination of engaging environments and a clear and intuitive wayfinding sets the stage for great commercial opportunities. Linking retail and F&B to the overall themes strengthens the identity and opportunities of the retail operators and the revenue for the airport. The terminal uses Chongqing’s past, present, and future as themes to engage the traveller. It is a storybook unfolding throughout the journey. Source by Nordic.

  • Location: Chongqing, China
  • Architect: Nordic — Office of Architecture
  • Design Team: Thomas Fagernes, Chrsitian Henriksen, Bjørn Olav Susæg, Yang Zhang, Jaymar Delgado, Eva Schwärzler and Lisa Germain
  • Local Architect: UDG
  • UDG: Cui Yongxiang, Yu Liang, Liu Xin, Chen Gang, Jiang Weixiong, Jerson Zhang, Echo Zhuang, Qin Zheng, Jacob Cheng, Yu Lifeng, Chen Shida, Zhang Xiaoli, Gu Lin, Liu Naizhi, Wang Haiyan, Ling Haifeng, Ma Yanlin, Wu Binbin, Wang Tiante, Tang Rongkang, Zhao tianci, Miller Mi
  • Lighting Designer: Lichtvision
  • Brand Designer: Abstract Drawing Center
  • Commercial Planning: Alan Thompson
  • Project Year: 2021
  • Images: Courtesy of Nordic

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