With the accessibility of travel being so unappreciated in today’s world, it’s easy to overlook how much effort has gone in to making the experience comfortable and enjoyable. Airports exemplify these efforts, being the gathering places of globetrotters with different agendas, tastes, backgrounds and most importantly, destinations. These hubs of globalization aim to appeal to everyone that stops by: a plethora of food options to suite a wide range of tastes, retail shops that provide for every possible travel need and spacial design elements aimed towards making the environment visually stimulating. There are some airports that have become tourist attractions themselves, making the idea of enduring a layover much more bearable.
The Wellington International Airport in New Zealand has won several awards including the 2011 World Travel Award. A new terminal called “The Rock” has won 13 awards on its own, including the transport category at the World Architecture Festival and Supreme Registered Master Builders Award. This is no surprise, seeing as the terminal is designed to be a reflection of the New Zealand landscape. The outside is covered in copper, and is meant to change with the salty ocean air. The inside is beautiful and practical, and can fit twice as many people as the previous terminal, which takes up the same amount of space. With the airport’s close proximity to the Central Business District (CBD), its efficiency in getting travelers to their destinations quickly is unquestioned.
Photo courtesy | Frederic Spycher
The Kansai International Airport located in Osaka, Japan is strong enough to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, and looks good doing it. Although completely covered in glass, this immense building (arguably the longest in the world) was left unscathed following the Kobe earthquake of 1995. Built on an island by the renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, the views from the airy, open and luxurious Terminal 1 are enough to make this airport a destination worth visiting.
Photo courtesy | Alec Wilson
The Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain has been garnering recognition for its renovations to its Terminal 4. Utilizing architectural elements made with bamboo and metal that create an unexpected atmosphere of fluidity and motion, this terminal is unique to say the least. In an effort to stray from traditional boxy shapes, the ceiling mirrors the shape of waves. The space becomes the perfect marriage of beautiful design and functionality when it allows for high traffic without making passengers feel overcrowded.
Photo courtesy | Rachel Lovinger
Don’t be afraid to visit places outside of your comfort zone just because you think the travel will be a hassle. Sometimes it is really true what they say, that the journey is more important than the destination. With unique airports like these scattered across the globe, try to revel in the journey, as airports truly serve as a hub of connectivity and cross-cultural exposure.