Following this classification, this is a collection of the airports that did best on the list and that are architecturally interesting as well (Vancouver’s Aquarium was not enough reason to include its airport for example). The list is personal and the order is random, they are equally welcoming. Other suggestions are kindly accepted!
1. Menara Airport
Location: Marrakech (Morocco)
Architect: E2A Architecture and CR Architecture
Brief Description: The Marrakech airport was extended with a new contemporary wing, featuring an exterior of 24 concrete rhombuses, with glass printed ancient Islamic ornamental motives. The light atmosphere is very similar to an islamic mosque. Read more here.
2. Carrasco International Airport
Location: Montevideo (Uruguay)
Architect: Rafael Viñoly Architects
Brief Description: “This terminal provides great spaces for the people who aren’t traveling as well as those who are. The atrium, the main hall, the terrace, and the passenger concourse make this a dramatic and welcoming place for everyone.” Says Viñoly. Read more here.
3. Incheon International Airport
Location: Seoul (Korea)
Architect: Fentress Architects
Brief Description: Clerestories and skylights bring enough daylight into the interior to allow the cultivation of traditional Korean gardens, which lend a peaceful and welcoming feel to the space and relates the airport to its rich cultural context. Read more here.
4. Beijing International Airport
Location: Beijing (China)
Architect: Foster + Partners
Brief Description: Conceived on an unprecedented scale, this building is outstanding in terms of operational efficiency, passenger comfort, sustainability and access to natural light. Its spatial clarity makes people very comfortable. Read more here.
5. Terminal 4, Barajas Airport
Location: Madrid (Spain)
Architect: Richard Rogers + Estudio Lamela
Brief Description: Transitions between spaces are considered as if a person changes time zones gingerly on a travel. The subtle change in colors punctuate this change. Light and transparency punch through the hill-like roof structure. Read more here.
6. TWA Terminal
Location: New York (US)
Architect: Eero Saarinen
Brief Description: The two satellites (designed by Saarinen), annex buildings which contained the gates, were demolished in 2006. The Head house is being renovated, partially encircled by and serving as a ceremonial entrance to a new adjacent terminal completed in 2008 and designed by Gensler. The old terminal is much more welcoming in my opinion. Read more here.
7. Chek Lap Kok Airport
Location: Hong Kong (China)
Architect: Foster + Partners
Brief Description: With its soaring spaces, bathed in daylight, the terminal building forms a spectacular gateway to the city. Whether arriving or departing, you know you are going to start well your journey. Read more here.
8. Norman Y. Mineta S. Jose International Airport Terminal B
Location: San Jose (US)
Architect: Fentress Architects
Brief Description: Fentress Architects managed to design an intriguing form while still meeting the challenging seismological standards of California. A skin of curving ribbed or perforated metal panels covers the exterior of the terminal. The metal structure appears to wrap around, hugging and protecting, a glass tube within. Read more here.
9. Zurich Airport
Location: Zurich (Switzerland)
Architect: Grimshaw Architects
Brief Description: The longitudinal structure is graceful, yet monumental in scale. An aerodynamically curved steel roof, supported by steel A-Frames, spans the 250-metre passenger hall which makes contains retail, dining, and lounge facilities. Read more here.
10. Changi Airport Terminal 3
Location: Singapore (Singapore)
Architect: SOM Architects
Brief Description: An automatic light modulation system contains glass skylights and thousands of aluminum louvers. During the day, these louvers can be positioned to limit or increase the amount of light so that no artificial illumination is necessary. Light and nature are really well integrated. Read more here.
11. Dulles International Airport
Location: Washington D.C (US)
Architect: Eero Saarinen
Brief Description: Saarinen was chosen for his ability to provide graceful beauty, similar to the nature of flight. He had the typical challenge of providing graceful access to the building, encountered by automobile, entered and further accessed by foot. Read more here.
Note: Interesting airports to be built: Oslo International Airport (Norway) by Narud Stokke Wiig or the new London Airport by Zaha Hadid. Other airports like the SAG – Airport Building in Mestia (Georgia) by J. Mayer H. Architectsare are private but are interesting.
The best for me is Changi International Airport where ‘ Light and nature are really well integrated’.
That one is amazing! Well… all of them are to be honest, I couldn’t have a favourite one 🙂
Hi Virginia. I love your posts. I am interested in a good read about architecture and I was wondering if you could recommend any books that you like. I know that’s kind of vague, but it could be about any style, era, or architect. I’d just like to learn more. ~ Sharyn
Thanks for your kind words and your interest! I would say you could start with this amazing piece “Principles Of Modern Architecture by Christian Norberg-Schulz” http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/886905.Principles_Of_Modern_Architecture and depending on what you think I’ll recommend you another one.
Brilliant, brilliant post. Love it. I think it is not until you look at the airports like this,from a physical distance, that you appreciate their great architecture.
I am really glad that you liked the psychological approach! Also, it made me think about our first reactions towards architecture. New airports are being built so I’d have to update this list very soon.
Looking forward to the updates.
I LOVE this post!!! I have been to three of these airports and can attest to their grandeur and welcoming feeling. Architecture reflects our philosophy of homecoming. Thank you so much for this collection.
You gave me the idea to write about airports! So thank you 🙂
wonderful post. I’ve see a few airport that you’ve mentioned above in photographs 🙂 But the architecture of Carrasco International Airport, Zurich Airport, Terminal 4, Barajas Airport in Madrid is mind blowing 🙂 Thanks for sharing such great information…Cheers!
Thank you Naresh! I didn’t have a chance to visit all of them either, but now that I’ve studied them I think I will at some point! Hope you visit some of them as well!
Nice collection of airport photographs with all their wonderful architecture.
Thank you Mary!
I’m shocked with the vast exciting, variety of gorgeous Architectural shots!
Glad you enjoed these Stephen!
These are amazing, they all look very futuristic to me, like in Science fiction films but htey are real, amazing architecture! Just visiting the airport of those countires is a trip worth while! 🙂
I completely agree with you! And it’s a shame we are always on a rush, because we don’t get to enjoy these buildings as much as we should 🙂
True, I have never been to any of those, my most visited one is London Stansted, which is not bad either, I find!
I been to a few of these airports.Spectacular post.Thank you for visiting my blog.Best wishes.jalal
Hello Jalal, I am glad that you got to see many of these airports in person. Thanks for stopping by,
Definitely some stunning airport spaces
Glad you liked them and thanks for stopping by 🙂
Pingback: Curiosities: The 11 Most Welcoming Airports in The World | Just Architecture
This is a great way for someone to virtually travel, thanks for sharing your experiences of these with us!
That is very true, I haven’t been at some of these airports and yet it feels as I was there at least once. I guess nowadays we can travel from our own computer 😉
These are all interesting airports. As a licensed pilot, I visit a lot of airports, none of which look anything like your examples!
Thanks for stopping by! These are some of the latest constructions but there are many more… I’m sure you’ve visited many interesting ones 🙂
Any favourite on the list?
Probably the most architecturally interesting airport I’ve been through is outside Denver, Colorado.
Great airport! I just checked it because I’ve never been to it. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Very nice that You selected among these TWA Terminal. As a Finn I am proud about it.
Saarinen was one of the best architects in the world! Have you ever been in this terminal in NY?
No, only in PanAm and American Airlines. Sigh.
Pingback: Explore The Vibrant City Of Tijuana: An Overview Of Airports In And Around The Mexican Border – Tour By Mexico