The Wings of Shenzhen: Redefining Air Travel Experience

Shenzhen, located in southern China, is known for its fast-paced development and modern architecture. One of the latest additions to its skyline is the Airport East Integrated Hub, which has quickly become a landmark of the city. The hub, which was completed in 2020, is a massive complex that serves as an international airport, commercial center, and transportation hub all in one. Airports have evolved into more than just transportation hubs. They are now multi-dimensional spaces that serve as gateways to cities and destinations. In 2020, Shenzhen, China introduced the world to the Airport East Integrated Hub, a new architectural marvel that redefines the air travel experience.

The Airport East Integrated Hub by UN Studio - Sheet1
©Airport East Integrated Hub – UNStudio

The Airport East Integrated Hub is designed by the renowned architecture firm, Gensler. The concept behind the design is to create a seamless connection between the airport and the city, making the journey from the airport to the city as smooth and stress-free as possible. The design also focuses on sustainability, incorporating features like energy-efficient systems, rainwater harvesting, and green roofs. The Airport East Integrated Hub spans over 1.2 million square meters and is designed to cater to 45 million passengers annually. One of the most striking features of the Airport East Integrated Hub is its expansive, undulating roof. The roof is made up of a series of interconnected, curved sections that create a dynamic and fluid appearance. The roof’s design is visually stunning and serves a functional purpose. The roof is made of a high-performance material that allows for natural light to filter through, creating a bright and inviting space inside the terminal, and reducing the need for artificial lighting. 

The Airport East Integrated Hub by UN Studio - Sheet2
©Airport East Integrated Hub – UNStudio

Inside the terminal building, passengers are greeted by a spacious and airy environment that is designed to minimize stress and anxiety. The interior design is modern and minimalistic, with natural materials such as wood and stone used throughout. The terminal features large windows that offer views of the surrounding landscape, creating a connection between the insides and the vicinity of the building. The hub is designed to cater to the needs of travelers, with a range of facilities that include duty-free shopping areas, restaurants, lounges, and entertainment zones. The interior of the building is spacious and airy, with high ceilings that give a sense of openness and calm. The airport is designed to cater to a range of aircraft, from small regional planes to large commercial jets. The vision for the East Transport Hub is for the world’s first fully integrated, sustainable transfer node, combining five modes of transport in one hyper-efficient, world-class building. It is also known as The Wings of Shenzhen. This unique project, in which a large, high-speed railway station is fully integrated with an international airport, was designed in collaboration with Atkins. It is a hub that incorporates operational efficiency and future flexibility, with the ability to flexibly accommodate changes in traffic profile by clever arrangement and use of space. More than just a place to transfer, the Wings would be a highly-recognizable destination that invites, connects, and guides people from the multiple hub modalities into the city, and vice versa, forming a new urban gateway for Shenzhen.

©Airport East Integrated Hub – UNStudio


The Airport East Integrated Hub is a model of sustainability. The building incorporates several features that reduce its carbon footprint and promote energy efficiency. The roof is designed to collect rainwater, which is used for irrigation and flushing toilets. The building is also equipped with energy-efficient systems, such as LED lighting and air conditioning systems that use natural ventilation. The airport also has green roofs that help to reduce the heat island effect, while providing a natural habitat for local wildlife. The Airport East Integrated Hub in Shenzhen, China, is not just a world-class airport, but also a sustainable one. Designed by Foster + Partners, the hub integrates a range of sustainable features that reduce the environmental impact of the facility. The building’s form and orientation are key to its sustainability. The roof is designed to maximize solar energy production, with solar panels covering much of the surface. The building’s orientation is also optimized to minimize solar heat gain and reduce the need for air conditioning. The hub’s water management system is also designed to reduce water consumption. Rainwater is collected and stored in tanks for reuse in irrigation, flushing toilets, and cooling systems. Wastewater is treated onsite and reused for non-potable purposes. The airport’s landscaping also supports sustainability. The site features extensive green spaces, including gardens and parks, that help to reduce the urban heat island effect and improve air quality. Trees and vegetation are selected for their ability to provide shade and improve air quality. In addition to these sustainable features, the Airport East Integrated Hub also incorporates energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems. The airport uses LED lighting, which is both energy-efficient and long-lasting. The building’s heating and cooling systems are designed to be highly efficient, using heat recovery systems to minimize energy consumption.


The Airport East Integrated Hub is a game-changer in the world of air travel. Its world-class infrastructure and facilities offer a seamless connection between the airport and the city. The design of the building is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, with a focus on sustainability that sets a new standard for airports around the world. As air travel continues to evolve, the Airport East Integrated Hub is a glimpse into the future of air travel, where airports are not just transportation hubs but integrated spaces that enhance the overall travel experience.

Online sources

UN Studio proposes new urban gateway filled with light and greenery for Shenzhen East Transport Hub (

Airport East Integrated Hub – UNStudio

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Airport East Integrated Hub – UNStudio

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