The main thing I noticed after 11 hours in the plane was the sunlight. The sun streams in from the sides, from overhead, from every direction. The terminal itself is a long tunnel of glass wood and steel (and a great red carpet) that feels warm and elegant and a nice change from the confines of an airplane. The walkway is wide with plenty of room to accommodate a lot of passengers.
The structure was designed by Paul Andreu (a French architect who's been doing a lot of building in China by the way) and was built without using interior supports and instead relied on underground tunnel technology and the manufacture of open-air concrete shells, steel reinforcement outside the shell, and further reinforcement with carbon fiber glued to the inside. This led to a tragic accident when part of the terminal collapsed shortly after the terminal opened in 2004. Since then there have been no issues and along with the brand new Terminal 2G the terminals service around 5 million people annually and are helping to make Charles de Gaulle a European hub.
Let's just hope that LAX's expansion has any of the thoughtful design that has gone into great terminals like this one and the amazing airport in Beijing.
Been to any great airports recently?
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