Situated close to the historic Silk Road that functioned as the key trading route between east and west, Urumqi evokes the earliest days of globalization: the mixing of cultures across lines of long-distance commerce. Xinjiang has played a key role in centuries of interaction between the Far West, the Middle East and the Far East, having once been the link between China and the rest of the world. This lineage seems befitting of the growing role of this region in modern aviation: the life-blood of 21st century tourism, trade, commerce and inter-cultural understanding.
Urumqi International Airport serves not merely as a gateway to the west but as a sign of Xinjiang’s ongoing significance in the economic and social landscape of modern China. It is crucial that the new airport form a source of pride for the region as well as the country. In the context of the world’s great airports, Urumqi’s aspiration to grow this new development up to 44 million passengers per year and potentially beyond, in itself heralds the region’s growing presence on the world stage. In collaboration with the HKS Aviation Group and Pascall + Watson, LINE sought to develop a progressive new “Gateway to the West” that married the best possible planning solutions with inspiring, graceful architectural expression.