London Architects Leading The Way In Airport Design


Airports for many are scary places, especially for those who have a fear of flying. For others they are a shrine to possibilities and intrigue.

Of course, facilities have expanded over the years to include all manner of shopping and dining options. It is possible to believe in many cases that you are in a shopping centre rather than an airport as owners try to maximize returns on every square foot of land. In recent times some of the best restaurants to be found in a city are in fact located at modern airports.

Publishers DOM-Verlag recently stated in the form of a new book on airports as a building type: "Airports, as pivotal points and linchpins, are the gateways to urban regions, as well as showcases to the world. They could be deemed flagship places for ambitious urban-development projects. However, rarely do built-reality and design requirements collide with each other as much as they do in the vicinity of large airports.” (1)London-based architects for some time now have been leading the way in delivering some outstanding examples of architecture at our modern airports.

Stansted Airport in London is often referred to as the first of the new breed of modern airports with Norman Foster – an experienced pilot -- the celebrated architect.

Distinctive design at Stansted, often referred to as zero hour in airport architecture. Photo: Dennis Gilbert, from[/caption] 15 metre high ceiling and allowance for natural light at Stansted Airport. Photo: Dennis Gilbert, from[/caption]Glass was used extensively and the design deliberately open so that you could view the aircraft and runway. Nearly all the services and technology are hidden and built in to the supports.

During the 2000s the number of high-tech Airports being added around the world from London architects increased to more than one per year.

Here we showcase a round-up of some of their designs.

1988 Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Japan, Kansai International Airport (completed in 1994) From the Renzo Piano Building Workshop: reminiscent of aircraft hangars, Kansai celebrates construction and spans; photo: Yoshio Hata – Fondazione Renzo Piano[/caption]  Built on an artificial island, Kansai Airport has recntyly had a runway and terminal recently added to it; photo: Sky Front's – Fondazione Renzo Piano[/caption] 2005 Foster + Partners: Jordan, Queen Alia International Airport (completed in 2012) The main characteristic of the Queen Alia International Airport is the roof inspired by Bedouin tents comprised of 127 concrete domes. Photo Nigel Young Foster + Partners.[/caption]2007 Grimshaw + Partners: Russia, Pulkovo Airport St. Petersburg (completed in 2014) Reconstruction of Pulkovo 1 terminal in St Petersburg Russia. The interior of the new airport was designed by Grimshaw Architects and directly correlates with the designs and style of Saint Petersburg city.[/caption]   

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