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101 Airports

Modern air travel is about far more than merely making it from point A to point B. The journey is the destination, and we take a look at airport design and how terminals are evolving: which innovations take flight and which are left grounded.

Terminal Three Beijing Airport
Terminal 3, Beijing

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    An Introduction to Airport Design

    As anyone who has been to Peru, 
or Bali, or Timbuktu can tell you, travel is not merely the experience of going
 somewhere. Travel design must convey a complex message: of place, of pleasure, of international exchange.

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    Gates of Heaven

    Effective airport designs are often underappreciated, as it is easy to take them for granted when things go smoothly. You are comfortable, you find what you need, and you are not bored out of your skull. The best airports get the small things right in a big way.

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    Airport Design Gone Wrong

    The challenge for airport designers is to consider the complex function of an airport and then cap it off with some truly striking architecture. Most airports get at least some of it right. Some get all of it wrong, or fail miserably in key respects.

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    Blimp My Ride

    A century ago giant airships—–blimps and zeppelins and such—–were considered the future of air transport, but with their safety called into question by the Hindenburg disaster and the increased reliability of airplanes, they were quickly reduced to quaint novelties floating over sports stadiums. Thanks to the cost of fuel and growing concern for the environment, how-ever, the airship may be primed for 
a comeback.

  • Incheon International Airport in Seoul Korea

    Jim Starry on the Future of Travel

    “We have to reconsider the basic structure of airports. If we land planes on an incline to assist in deceleration and have runways end on top of the terminals to eliminate the need for taxiing, we can save billions of gallons of fuel each day. It’s not that radical an idea. We can utilize the concept to make airports more efficient.”

  • Exterior of Los Angeles International Airport

    Adam Wells on the Future of Travel

    “There’s so much potential to improve airline travel in so many ways, and we’ve only just begun. We have the opportunity to make travel entertaining and pleasurable instead of stressful and tiresome. We will focus on producing something more ethereal than just products or environments: create a better experience, deliver a sense of freedom that was previously unavailable to all but the wealthiest of travelers.”

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    Richard Spencer on the Future of Travel

    “Sustainability and energy efficiency are extremely important. We’re already seeing a trend of pushing cars farther away from the terminals and improving access to public transit with better rail links and easy-to-use connections. Quieter airplanes make it possible to close the distance between city and airport, which will cut down transit times.”

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