Chinese media have already nicknamed Daxing the “starfish airport” because that’s what it looks like from the air.  But Hadid, who worked on the project with the French engineering firm ADPI before her untimely death in 2016, described the design as a phoenix (feng huang). The mythical feng huang is an auspicious symbol in the Chinese imagination.

Daxing airport has the trademark sinuous curves and parabolic folds of a Hadid building—its ovoid overhead windows already figure in hundreds of Instagram posts. The radial design is meant to reduce walking time from security checkpoints to the furthest gates. Airport officials have told CNN that passengers would not need to walk more than eight minutes to get to their gate.

China’s two state-owned airlines, China Eastern and China Southern will operate from the new airport. British Airways, Finnair, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines and Royal Maroc have also planned routes via Daxing.

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