Even being spiced up with modern attitude in design, airports are still not on the list of tourists destinations. Thus, air companies are trying their best to be not only fancy looking building (because terminal welcomes a visitor to a new place) but also, as convenient as possible.
Today, there is a great opportunity to check any aircraft without going to the airport. For example, a British invention, Flight radar 24 allows you to track your aircraft and deduce a precise time of its landing when you aren’t in the airport yet.
Another British breakthrough is a Scottish airport in Edinburgh that became one among the first autistic friendly airport in 2018, despite being called Scotland’s worst building due to its eastern terminal expansion. It even received a Zit accolade in the Carbuncle Awards for the worst architectural design (a reference: the newspaper ‘Edinburgh Evening News’). However, it has recently introduced the supportive environment and trained staff for passengers with autism.
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However, today we are going to explore 10 the most visually appealing airports that could be must-see spots by themselves not taking into consideration their practical facilities. The following list is obviously not full and has been made up on a biased personal point of view. All mentioned places are ranked regardless of their status, so the first one is not better than the seventh one. Let’s get started!
All aboard! We are taking off!
Vancouver International Airport – a state-of-art architecture (Canada)
It is a unique place that one would like to visit even without a boarding ticket thanks to its sculpture collection − the largest collection of Northwest Coast Native art in the world and aquarium exhibits.
The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe is the focal point there. It is definitely a piece of high cultural importance that was depicted on the back of the Canadian $20 bill.
The Rivers Monument honors the Columbia and Fraser River that carried prosperity of the ancient Indigenous Nations. In 1957, Celilo Falls was submerged by The Dalles Dam construction that harmed thousands of pictographs that told the story of the ancient history of Indigenous presence.
Munich Airport – a high-tech space (Germany)
Inside the airport, there are open spaces with metal and glass constructions that admit sunlight from both sides and from above. There is a “meditation room” for relaxation also, it has an event space where surfing and biking events are held during a year. This airport not only looks modern but also works without delays; its thought-out connections between terminals and the train bring the sense of the upcoming future with robotic dominance.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport − an one-of-its-kind building (India, Mumbai)
A unique modern structure of the building naturally amalgamates with works of art. It maintains India’s largest public art exhibition. It is a 3.2 km multi-storey Art Wall, illuminated by skylights, that includes over 5 000 pieces of artwork and artifacts from every corner of the country.
Inside, the roof is supported by the pillars that clearly resemble gigantic mushrooms. Overall, there are 30 of them, connected to the canopy overhead with peacock patterns, India’s national bird. Also, these vibrant patterns symbolize traditional Indian arrival and departure ceremonies.
John F. Kennedy International Airport (USA, New York)
The concrete roof imitates a seagull in flight with two massive wings during a flight. Curves that are in abundance in both internal and external construction create spaces that flowed into one another; this effect captures the process of hovering.
The interior is full of endless ribbons that start outside, go on the ceilings, continuously run on the walls and those walls become floors. Due to its amusing design, this airport even has appeared a Hollywood movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘Catch Me If You Can’.
5. Kuala Lumpur International Airport – an airport in the forest (Malaysia)
The airport is breathtaking by its size (it is one of the largest airports in Asia) and fabulous motives in the design (pillars that hold the shell-like roof resemble trees from Malaysian rainforest and the lights on the canopy that look like the sunlight through leaves).
Steel and cultural traditions can blend together in each of prayer rooms.
Denver International Airport – a mystery in the design (the USA, Colorado)
The captivating fabric-covered tents of the Denver airport are a highlight of American architecture. They resemble Colorado’s snow-capped Rocky Mountains. The public has been so hooked on its design that ‘The Denver Airport Conspiracy’ theories started to appear.
Even references to Nazism were found: the runways in a swastika-like form; a picture of a Nazi soldier attacking the dove of peace; the horse of the Apocalypse like it is described in the Bible at the entrance. Also, it is claimed to be a time capsule in the granite monument that can be opened in 2094.
Barajas International Airport – calmness in the center of a vibrant town (Spain, Madrid)
The airport is located just 12 kilometers from the capital of Spain. Integrated steel and bamboo that were used for this airport erection confirm its status of an environmentally friendly airport. Its transparent smoothness and flexibility, tranquility and lightness attract a brisk glance.
A wave-shaped roof is held by ‘trees’ in the center that accent the roof to cast natural light through the roof. The main colors are striking red and captivating yellow.
Beijing Capital International Airport – one of the largest buildings in the world (China)
It was unveiled up to the 2008 Olympics, representing traditional Chinese mythological creatures (dragons) and colors (red and yellow). All spaces are lit by natural light and the changing of the skylight is visible.
There are distinctive red columns both along the external edges and inside, resembling the traditional Chinese temples. Overall, the area covers 1.3 million square meters and is capable of accommodating 50 million passengers per year.
Wellington International Airport – an entrance to marvel (New Zealand)
It completely works out its nickname − ‘The Rock’ by its fable vibes. Studio Pacific Architecture and Warren & Mahoney took inspiration from the legend of sea monsters Ngake and Whataitai.
Outside it resembles dangerous cliffs; indoor wooden ornaments support this theme. There is a huge Gollum head hanging from the roof above people and reaching for a fish inside.
Queen Tamar Airport – modernity in the medieval surrounding (Georgia, Mestia)
A small (250 m2) but with a striking design airport looks like it has just landed on this spot from another galaxy beaming with its futuristic design. The shiny black and white building was inspired by the ancient Georgian watchtowers.