With more people taking to the air than ever before, some of the world’s busiest airports are in the midst of fundamental renewal – upgrading and expanding existing facilities. Other cities have committed to building brand new airports to better prepare for future growth. Results are impressive – modern, stylish architectural masterpieces designed to enhance the travel experience for the hundreds of millions of people circling the globe.
Here are some ground-breaking and beautiful airport projects that are inspiring us:
The JFK story is not about an expansion of terminals but rather a revival and reinvention of one abandoned years ago. Eero Saarinen’s 1962 space age masterpiece, the TWA terminal, was closed in 2001, and sat abandoned until 2016 when the Port Authority granted MCR/Morse the rights to restore this white winged building to its mid-century glory. However, it would not be restored to function in its original capacity as an operational terminal with gates, carousels and jet bridges. Instead, this bewinged beauty has been converted into a spectacular airport hotel housing 512 hotel rooms featuring 60’s inspired Knoll furniture, sunken lounge bars and even rotary phones (converted to use digital systems thankfully). In addition, the TWA hotel boasts six restaurants, boutiques, a groovy cocktail lounge inside a vintage airplane and a rooftop infinity pool (pictured above) and observation deck.
So gorgeous, you may just want to miss your connecting flight!
The other airport servicing the Big Apple, La Guardia, has undergone a much overdo renovation in order to adequately serve the throngs of visitors passing through. LaGuardia’s new, state-of-the-art passenger Terminal B delivers a modern New York travel experience replacing the outdated, cramped 1964 central terminal building. The terminal and taxiways have been completely rebuilt to create one unified structure with more gates and space to handle the thousands of passengers. The comprehensive renovation, by global design, architecture, and engineering firm, HOK, has also achieved LEED Silver certification for sustainable design. The new concourse is designed with soaring 55-foot high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow ample natural light to fill space, which includes an indoor park with benches, landscaping and real trees.
Voted the World’s Favourite Airport, the Moshe Safdie-designed, Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore does not disappoint. If you are simply passing through, there are so many attractions to make your stay worthwhile including the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, hedge maze, a rooftop cactus garden and cafe and the Canopy park and walk – an indoor jungle and suspended pathway high above – both recently opened in June. Alternatively, shop til you drop in the retail section of the airport. Featuring an unusual, contemporary mix of top international brands and independent. local retailers, you’ll be hard pressed not to open your wallet.
The late, great, architectural visionary, Zaha Hadid, was commissioned to design Beijing’s new international airport to serve the world’s fastest growing aviation sector. The terminal building and ground centre are designed to be extremely user friendly, operationally efficient and able to accommodate future growth. It’s 6 pier radial design delivers convenience to passengers, minimising distances between check-in desks and gates and between gates for easy connections. Also, by housing aircraft gates in one terminal with a single passenger handling centre, the airport can reduce its carbon footprint negating the need for connecting inter-terminal buses or trains.
Flowing parabolic folds within the terminals vaulted roof support the structure and welcome endless natural light into the space and draw passengers toward a central courtyard.
Also worth mentioning is the mega hub airport expansion happening in Istanbul. It is called the Istanbul New Airport and the first phase was completed in October 2018 while the other three are slated to be completed by 2025. Ultimately, it will be capable of handling 150 million travellers a year rivaling Dubai’s Al Maktoum Airport’s capacity.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash