Richard Rogers’ Madrid-Barajas airport.
Architectural critic Paul Goldberger reckons that airports today are like the great railway terminals of yesteryear: the gateway to the adventure and romance of a new city. In short, it’s all about arrival--something most airports do so poorly.
Where they exist at airports, he says, the more impressive spaces are usually located in the airports' departure halls. Those passengers are rushing to clear security and catch flights and don't have time to appreciate their space. The arrivals hall usually doesn't inspire much.
"When you arrive, you're shunted to a lower level to baggage claim and go through what feels like a service (exit)," says Goldberger, who regularly flies through New York and New Jersey's bustling but not very beautiful airports.
Although most airports don't meet his wish for a "grand welcome" -- even the ones he likes -- some architects are designing lovely airports that are worth admiring. Here are some of the airport designs Goldberger has appreciated or is hankering to see for himself.
Richard Rogers’ Madrid-Barajas airport, departure area.
Richard Rogers’ Madrid-Barajas airport, check-in and departure.