British architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) have won a competition to design the new
Terminal 3 building at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The scheme will deliver a new terminal
building, boarding gates, concourses and a multi-function building, along with transport infrastructure.
The practice, working alongside Taiwan engineering firm CECI, saw off competition from Foster +
Partners and UN Studio to win the project. The jury said that it had been impressed with the
‘innovative planning and design’ submitted by RSHP.
The design for Taoyuan Terminal 3 synthesises the practice’s previous major airport experience with
the specific brief. It has brought together the flexibility of the single span, loose fit volume of Heathrow
Terminal 5 with the warmth and human qualities of the flowing interior spaces of Barajas Terminal 4.
The result is a unique, dynamic and fluid architecture that allows for easy adaption and future
transformation of airport functions without compromising the passenger experience or the
The RSHP proposal is inherently simple in its concept. The design is inspired by Taiwan’s beautiful
landscapes, the seas surrounding it, its rhythms of nature and life to create a series of unique interior
places designed for their purpose and protected beneath an elegant hard shell roof. Within, a soft
inner surface is malleable and dynamic to celebrate and form the ever changing spaces below. The
nature of the interior spaces whether grand, intimate, uniform or dramatic and the extent of those
spaces too can be changed. Adjustable scaling will give passengers spatial clarity in all areas; large,
small, busy or quiet, to reduce stress and improve wellbeing and comfort. This flexibility ensures the
airport is always at its best and suitably presented as the principal gateway to and from Taiwan to the
rest of the world.
The terminal 3 building will be the first of a new generation, a highlight in the journey for new and
seasoned travellers alike. It will offer arriving passengers an equality of spatial experience to those
departing. Its rational plan arrangement is forecast to deliver minimum connection times of just 40
minutes, the best in the region, with simple way-finding and airside connectivity.
Dan Stubbergaard, founder of the internationally praised COBE Architects, takes us around his hometown Copenhagen in Denmark to show and discuss what motivates their exciting socially conscious and highly innovative projects.
“Doing architecture is not a one person thing, it’s a collective effort.” When Stubbergaard was an intern in the Netherlands, he became conscious of the social impact of good architecture and the need to deal with pragmatic issues, society and its current challenges: “It was really a turning point for me as a student to understand that what I was doing, and what architecture was about, was something much bigger than being really good at making a perfect drawing.”
What is really important to COBE when generating social success with architecture is to respect and understand the specific context they work in. This context being not only the physical surroundings but also the social context, which is why COBE has a lot of focus on involving the users. Their work therefore also rests on the premise that everyday architecture matters – building kindergartens, libraries and other public places based on the idea that buildings should embrace people.
Stubbergaard is very aware that only time can tell if a project has done what it was supposed to do: “Maybe it’s only at that time that you can really judge whether it was a success, whether it worked, whether it’s liveable, whether it’s lively, whether it’s able to transform again and again and again, as a city has to work like a big organism.” Architecture can regenerate energy, transform a place and break the negative spiral in an e.g. problematic housing area, and thus help build a socially diverse city.
When and how do we build monuments for the future? This is also one of the questions that occupies Stubbergaard, who seeks to avoid the sometimes boring aspects of modernism by mixing scale and repetition: “I love the idea that we sometimes – as a society – invest and build for the past, but that it is also about celebrating the future, because it will stand for decades and be a memory of something important way back.”
Dan Stubbergaard (b. 1974) is the Founder & Creative Director of COBE in Copenhagen.
COBE is a contemporary community of architects that focuses on architecture and design from buildings to public space and large scale urban planning. COBE was founded in 2005 and has since then gained international recognition through the realization of beautiful and innovative projects. Find out more about COBE Architects and their projects here: cobe.dk/
Dan Stubbergaard was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in Copenhagen in the summer of 2014.
Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015