All airports are absolutely, positively not created equal. Case in point: the brand new Terminal 3 at Shenzhen’s Bao'an International hub, which will be inaugurated next month after five years in the making. This place is a certifiable beaut that befits the awesome act of flying that we take for granted all the dang time.

Studio Fuksas, led by architectural icons (and husband/wife duo) Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, turned a ground-bound site for arrivals and departures into something that visually soars.

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This gateway to the friendly skies was designed to look like a manta ray, and extends for almost a kilometer and a half along the tarmac.

Metal and glass honeycomb cladding gives the exterior a consistent geometric motif, but the inside is where this feature truly shines; natural light pierces through the pattern, illuminating the nearly all-white interior from the swooping ceiling down to the reflective floor.

Info islands and air conditioning units are shaped like sculptural trees, while the massive supporting columns are meant to give the awe-inspiring effect of stepping into a cathedral. It becomes, in a way, a destination unto itself—as opposed to a much-maligned midpoint between here and there, wherever those final destination may be.