Airport architecture

World architecture... what's happening generally....

Airport architecture

Postby RSJ » Mon Nov 04, 2002 9:13 pm

Right everyone. My present obsession is airports - or to be exact, airport architecture, which means terminals.

I'd like people's views on what they think are the world's best airports from an architectural point of view. They can be brand-new or historic.

For me, one of the best ever is Berlin's Tempelhof, designed in 1937 but not used until after the war, when it was the scene of the Berlin Airlift. The diagram of how to get people through to the planes via the shortest distance is still mighty impressive. Looks like a huge Nazi railway station from the land side, however.

So: nominate your favourite airport!
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Nov 05, 2002 9:51 am

I think you have to experience an airport rather than looking at it in a book / magazine / television which doesnt really allow me to comment. However I really enjoyed Stansted when it first opened, spent a day in it taking photographs back in early 1992 and it was churchlike.
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Postby Luke Gardnier » Tue Nov 05, 2002 1:36 pm

Must say I liked the Cathedral like atmosphere of Malaga Airport .........no low ceilings pressing down on you or ques crossing....an airy and great sence of space.
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Postby ro_G » Tue Nov 05, 2002 2:41 pm

The airport in Praslin in the Seychelles knocks the socks off any other airport I've ever been in. About €30 for a cup of tea in it but it has beatutiful views and is entirely made from local timber and if I recall, is actually built on stilts!

bad picture but you get the idea. beautiful inseide
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Postby LOB » Tue Nov 05, 2002 3:12 pm

Originally posted by Luke Gardnier
Must say I liked the Cathedral like atmosphere of Malaga Airport


would agree, seems to work quite well
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Postby RSJ » Wed Nov 06, 2002 11:21 am

Thanks for those tips. I didn't know either of those. On trawling the Web, I find that Malaga is a rare neo-classical airport by Ricardo Bofill, opened in 1991.

Praslin on the Seychelles is interesting as a vernacular terminal, supposedly based on Creole architecture. Opened 2001. Haven't tracked down an architect for it yet - looks a bit Geoffrey Bawa-ish.

In this alternative vein, I also recommend Rafael Moneo's San Pablo Airport in Seville - an affair of brick arches and roof lanterns. Not all new airports go for the high-tech look.

Anyone happen to know the architect of the spanking new Venice Airport, all very Italian rationalism-meets-postmodernism?

Keep 'em coming...
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Postby trace » Wed Nov 06, 2002 1:13 pm

Venice Marco Polo is by local architect, Gian Paolo (Giampaolo) Mar.

http://www.edilportale.com/edilnews/popup.asp?IDDOC=2717
http://www.arkineos.it/arkultimo/articoli/anselmo/anselmo.htm

Copenhagen airport is pretty enjoyble to use and is rated the best in the world, whatever that means. Also: built in 1939, the airport's original Vilhelm Lauritzen terminal was relocated in 1999. The relocation, which attracted a great deal of media attention, was included in The Guinness Book of Records as a European moving record; the total cost of re-establishing the terminal was DKK 100 million. Today, the building is used for administration staff offices, training, and state visits, and is also rented out for large banquets, receptions and the like.
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Postby colinsky » Wed Nov 06, 2002 5:09 pm

TWA terminal at JFK (now, sadly, too small for modern traffic levels).

http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/TWA_at_New_York.html

I also love LAX's "Theme Building", although it's really only just a restaurant now that the observation deck has been closed.

http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/history/historylab/LAPUHK/Text/Concepts/Icons/Icons_LAX.htm
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Postby roskav » Wed Nov 06, 2002 5:16 pm

Fly Go to Bilbao... Calatrava. Snuggles under a lawn and opens its mouth with teeth to the runway. Nice view as you leave from the taxi.
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Postby ro_G » Wed Nov 06, 2002 5:29 pm

Copenhagen is great due to the kids facilities - little lego play areas in all the waiting rooms. However, the walkways last forever. espescially internal to external. and for some odd reason in the domestic terminal every second door opens the other way. which is confusing as hell when you are running toward them.
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Postby kefu » Wed Nov 06, 2002 6:54 pm

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Postby notjim » Wed Nov 06, 2002 7:15 pm

stansted was heaven in the old days when you had it to yourself and the bewley's franchise did wonderful cooked breakfest, the old delta terminal in jfk is nice, espessially if you go there by the water shuttle from wall street, the ireland, india, israel terminal in jfk is great too because of the saris, the hassidim and the green jerseys, but what airport can beat heathrow for sheer fun, the chaos, the confusion.
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Postby RSJ » Wed Nov 06, 2002 7:27 pm

Thanks to Trace for identifying architect of Venice - went through there in September. Wonderfully free of commercial tat, loads of space.

Copenhagen I've got on my budget-airline list to visit. Been wanting to see that original Lauritzen terminal for some time.

Bilbao, yes - last (and only) time I was there the Calatrava airport wasn't opened.

And Kefu, yes - the original Dublin Airport by Fitzgerald and the gang was one of the 1930s greats, along with Le Bourget, Tempelhof and Liverpool's Speke.

Maybe Dublin could do a Copenhagen and move and restore it. Or just take away the tat and restore it.
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Postby ro_G » Wed Nov 06, 2002 8:43 pm

Rather parochial account of the Praslin Airports opening here:
http://www.nation.sc/archives/miscellaneous/June/miscellaneous_Junewk3_archives.htm

Only reference I could find was Laxmanbhai Construction Ltd, who may or may not have employed the architect,
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Postby ro_G » Wed Nov 06, 2002 8:50 pm

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Postby nono » Wed Nov 06, 2002 8:58 pm

check out aerogare 2f, at charles de gaulle. i don't have any pictures but it is the one used in the u2 video 'beautiful day'. i have only used it once but it is unbelievably simple to use. it looks pretty decent too!
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Postby RSJ » Wed Nov 06, 2002 9:54 pm

And I thought all runways were the same. Ro_G's selected site proves I was right. But check out that weird Sydney control tower. Or the high-modern terminal at Innsbruck. A few gems creep into these pix.

Looking at these photos would probably get you arrested in Greece.
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Postby RSJ » Wed Nov 06, 2002 10:04 pm

Referring to nono (and an earlier posting on this forum by Paul Clerkin re Charles de Gaulle 1) -

Paul Andreu of Aeroports de France is a god of airport terminal design. He appreciates the theatre of the places, much as the 19th century architects of railway stations did. OK, so CDG 1 (and 2) is well over the top. But then so is St. Pancras Station in London. Both places make you feel important as a traveller.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Jan 10, 2003 3:56 pm

What I saw of Chicago airport wasn't that impressive but boy does it work. Ten minutes from International terminal to a domestic by electric train.

The domestic terminal was very simply a T - enter along the horizontal, check in and keep walking until you hit your gate. All gates facing bars and eateries.
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Postby RSJ » Fri Jan 10, 2003 5:16 pm

Yes, there's some stuff by Helmut Jahn there but it reallly seems to be just a huge organism with no clear image - like Heathrow, Schipol, etc. Only clearly more efficient than Heathrow.
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Postby Aierlan » Tue Jan 14, 2003 5:46 pm

The Norman Foster-designed Hong Kong International Airport.

Although the airport was moved far out of the city in 1998, you can still check your bags in two new, dedicated railway stations in the city centre.

After a smooth, speedy train ride to the door of the airport, you proceed in almost a straight line to check-in, security, immigration, shopping, boarding.

The open-plan design means you can always see where you want to go and you can orient yourself by looking through the huge walls of glass at the mountains and airplanes.

Lots of light, lots of space. A larger version of Stansted, you could say. It handles at least 30m passengers a year and I think it's designed for up to 80m. Very impressive.

I have connected many times in Copenhagen and always found that extremely easy to negotiate.
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Postby flysrmd11 » Thu Jan 16, 2003 9:56 pm

Honolulu Airport, while nothing special architecturally speaking is unbelievably pleasant to travel through. Nothing like getting off the 6-hour flight from the mainland and being greeted by the tropical Hawaiian air blowing in your face while walking to the baggage reclaim hall.

I must second that Hong Kong view. Beautiful and functional though checking-in at the last minute and finding out that your flight is departing from the end of the Y pier can be nightmare. Immigration, down 2 escalators, wait for the APM, 2 minutes journey time, 2 escalators up and another 300 metres walk before finally reaching the gate, exhausted.

I personally find Singapore Changi way over-rated both from an architectural and passenger point of view.

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Postby Erkki Mikola » Thu Feb 27, 2003 5:38 pm

Anybody of you heard about Helsinki-Malmi?
It was built in mid-30ies (inaugurated 15.5.1938)

It has a fine round terminal building with two side wings

And now it is in big danger to be demolished. I mean the aerodrome, runways. The buildings are promised to be saved, but they are not airport buildings without the airfield and airplanes.

See http://www.tky.hut.fi/~pik/Malmi/index-e.htm
and especially pictures http://www.tky.hut.fi/~pik/Malmi/malmi-e.htm

Do you know similar cases, that old airport buildings are torn out of their original function and surroundings: an airfield?

What do you think that we, friends of Helsinki-Malmi airport could still do to save the airport?
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Postby RSJ » Thu Feb 27, 2003 5:54 pm

It's a fine 1930s airport. But I can't see the name of an architect anywhere. Do you know who the architect was?
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Postby Erkki Mikola » Thu Feb 27, 2003 6:28 pm

Architects of Malmi airport were Dag Englund and Vera Rosendahl

You can read more about Dag Englund from
http://www.meamnet.polimi.it/archive/017/017.html and especially Malmi airport is mentioned in http://www.meamnet.polimi.it/archive/017/017m1.html "Dag Englund gained success in several church design competitions in the 1930s with his elegant functionalist designs. His prize-winning entries were, however, not realised. His most remarkable completed building from the 1930s is Malmi Airport in Helsinki, once a super-modern example of functionalism. He was also well placed in competitions for various institution buildings. The Parochial Institute in Järvenpää, for instance, was built in 1950 following a competition. Dag Englund designed numerous industrial and apartment buildings in various parts of Finland. His wife Doris was a fashion designer."

An other architectural site, where Malmi airport is mentioned is http://www.rakennustaiteenseura.fi/taiteentutkija/ajankohtaista/dangerous_liaisons_program.htm
where is said that Program of the Architectural Tour Sunday 18 February 2001

made a coffee break at Helsinki-Malmi Airport, Dag Englund & Vera Rosendahl 1938

More information you can ask from Aino Niskanen, who is an expert (as you see from the www-page). I am not an architect although very interested to get also international help from architects around the world for saving our airport.
Aino Niskanen's email adress is aino.niskanen@jippii.fi

best regards
Erkki Mikola
erkki.mikola@kotiportti.fi
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