Fingers Pointed in a Number of Directions Over Beijing Airport’s Latest Roofing Incident

In case you missed it as you were prepping to travel or start your two day cooking, drinking and eating frenzy, Beijing’s Norman Foster-designed airport was hit by another very large gust of wind. While non-hurricane winds don’t usually rip open the roofs of buildings, in this case it did, for the second time in less than a year (it happened before last December), removing metal plates and insulation, which slid and blew onto the surrounding area, including a runway. Given that this wing of the airport is only three years old, opened to showcase modern China for Olympic visitors, the blame game fall out has begun, with some blaming the architecture, others pointing at China’s often perceived construction oversights, with speed coming before safety and security, and most recently, with the organizations who worked to build Foster’s design now blaming the two roof tears on poor building materials. Here’s a bit from the executive chief architect of Beijing Architectural Design and Research Institute, talking to the Wall Street Journal:

“While architects designed the general look of T3, suppliers made special designs to makesure the metal panels used on the roof could resist strong winds,” he said.

“The metal roof technology used to build T3 was a mature one that has stood tests for more than 20 years,” he said, adding he personally believed that this could be more of a quality-related issue.