With so many people returning to travel, airports are back in the news. ArchDaily published a recent article highlighting “10 Awe-Inspiring Airports Across the World.” The author, Eric Baldwin, states, “Often serving as a city’s first impression, airports combine landscapes, ecologies, air rights, and infrastructure to connect people and place. As new technologies and advancements transform aviation, so too has airport architecture evolved to meet modern travel demands.”

He selected the following 10 airports because they “showcase dynamic and thoughtful aviation spaces.” He adds, “Often designed as gateways or portals, the structures each create spatial and formal references to their surrounding contexts and cultures.”

Cologne Bonn Airport / Murphy Jahn – Cologne, Germany – Tensioned steel umbrella structures provide roofing over the new vehicle access driveway and while forming a light and translucent terminal hall with adjacent terminal gates

Queen Alia International Airport / Foster + Partners – Amman, Jordan – In response to Amman’s climate, where summer temperatures vary markedly between day and night time, the building is constructed largely from concrete, the high thermal mass of the material providing passive environmental control. 

Kutaisi International Airport / UNStudio – Kutaisi, Georgia – The steel structure of the terminal – produced and shipped from Hungary – recently won a European steel prize award. 

Tom Bradley International Terminal / Fentress Architects – Los Angeles, US – The wave-like ceiling was designed to reduce solar glare and heat from the ocean on the west and bathe the terminal in natural light from the northeast. Expansive glass curtain walls offer dramatic views of the airfield and the nearby Santa Monica Mountains.

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport / Studio Fuksas – Shenzhen, China – The symbolic element of the building is the internal and external double “skin” honeycomb motif that wraps up the structure. The cladding is made of alveolus-shaped metal and glass panels of different size that can be partially opened.

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport – Terminal 2 / SOM – Mumbai, India – An additional 4.4 million square feet of new space was built to accommodate 40 million passengers per year, operating 24 hours a day; 3.5 m to 4 m deep steel roof trusses were used in the design and construction.

Passenger Terminal Complex Suvarnabhumi Airport / Jahn – Bangkok, Thailand – The roof structure has a size of 567m by 210m in plan and is comprised of 8 supertruss girders. These girders have a central span of 126m and two cantilevering ends, which both have a length of 42 m. The entire roof is supported by 16 frame-type steel columns. Creating the architectural form by its function, the geometry of the supertruss girder was determined through the level of the bending moment. To guarantee life long high performance and low maintenance costs sunshade louvers, comprised of mill finish aluminum, are positioned on top of the roof structure. 

The Ilan and Asaf Ramon International Airport / Amir Mann-Ami Shinar Architects + Moshe Zur Architects – Eilat, Israel – Israel’s first civil airport built from scratch (“greenfield”); the Terminal’s envelope consists of a steel and concrete skeleton structure, cladded to the exterior with insulating aluminum triangular panels, continuous from wall to roof that create one single mass. 

Beijing Daxing International Airport / Zaha Hadid Architects – Beijing, China – The airport’s redesign will accommodate 72 million travellers by 2025 and is planned for further expansion to serve up to 100 million passengers and 4 million tonnes of cargo annually; six flowing forms within the terminal’s vaulted roof reach to the ground to support the structure and bring natural light within, directing all passengers towards the central courtyard. 

Madrid-Barajas Airport Terminal 4 / Estudio Lamela & Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners – Madrid, Spain – The Terminal Building is characterised by three lineal modules (Check-in spine, processing spine, Pier), and serves different functions according to the passengers flow (arrivals or departures).