Cordogan Clark & Associates teamed as Design Architect with Hanson Engineers for the design of a new private Ding Shu regional airport in the Jiangsu town of Yixing. Hanson is well known in the United States for its engineering and management of private regional airports. Cordogan Clark is designing the Fixed-Base Aviation Operations building, Hangars, and Firestation, and Exhibit Hall.
The first phase is designed in accordance with class 4C General Airport standards. The project covers an area of 500 acres with a main runway 800m × 30m, to meet the demand of “Seastar” (Donnell CD2) and other small fixed-wing aircraft. The total budget is approximately 200 million yuan, with a construction cost of 80 million yuan. The long-term plan accommodates a 2200m × 45m runway. . For the architectural design, our goal is design that conveys the excitement and glamor of modern air travel, to create a technically advanced structure of distinctive character, while at the same time referencing Yixing’s ancient aesthetic.
The new FBO (Fixed Base Operations) Building is the central signature building for this new airport. It features technical facilities, administrative offices, an airport lounge, restaurant, and control tower, all in the same building. It is designed for functional efficiency, while also making a new iconic architectural statement for the new Dingshu Airport development. The FBO Control tower is 27 meters tall. It is located near the airstrip to give air traffic controllers optimal airfield views from the tower. Other considerations include a design that makes a unique statement, that refers to aviation and flight, as well as the elegant local traditional crafts of the region, and that harmonizes with other architectural structures in the development. This led to the selection of a unique, torch-shaped tower that is flared at the top. The tower uses steel and concrete for basic structure. The tower’s exterior is clad in curved metal panels hung on an intermediate structure, with a wide wrap-around ribbon of glass at the viewing platform.
The tower is at one end of the building, positioned closer to the airfield to improve sightlines and accommodate state-of-the-art electronics. Its offset position gives the structure a uniquely graceful appearance. Our challenge, in addition to creating an iconic structure, is to create a comfortable and esthetically pleasing space for pilots and passengers within a vivid theme-based concept. The interior public areas are primarily open, vibrant, and stimulating. They organize space in a flowing, open manner with specific zones for the lounge, dining, media, and bar areas. These areas are highlighted by windows that provide excellent views of the surroundings. Natural light, acoustics, textures and colors, intuitive way-finding, retail, and amenities are all elements through which the FBO building enhances the passenger experience. The architecture designed for Dingshu Airport showcases contemporary aviation and sustainable architectural design. It also reflects the ancient cultural and historical characteristics of the region. The form of the tower is influenced by functional considerations for reducing glare to provide optimal visibility. Yet its streamlined design also resembles the lotus and Yixing’s pottery art, which have been a symbol of Jiangsu Province for many centuries, and are important cultural references in Chinese history.