Tomorrow's Airport Today: A Holistic Approach to Modern Terminal Design
Nagy, Andrea Larisa
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Modern airport terminal design approaches the needs of passengers on a primarily logistical level. Over time, genuine interest in passenger comfort and satisfaction has become diluted in the face of an increasingly efficiency and money-driven aviation industry. The airport experience has been reduced to getting in and out of the terminal as quickly as possible, simply because there is little incentive to slow down or even go in the first place. Uninspiring interior designs, crumbling infrastructure, claustrophobic spaces, security hassles, and a lack of access to food, shops, services, and entertainment are just a few of the issues that must be dealt with in order to restore a certain level of appeal and comfort. This thesis suggests that a more sensitive and responsive approach to airport design can change an ingrained mentality that characterizes airports as places to be dreaded rather than be inspired by. Over time, stress has become an inherent part of travelling, due largely to incremental increases in security checks and measures. This is an unfortunate by-product of the era we live in and is not likely be changed entirely, as public safety must remain a paramount goal in any airport design. At the same time, architects must feel compelled to design in a way that reduces passenger stress at every point along their terminal experience. Only then can passengers feel free to truly take in the architecture of their surroundings -- an architecture that should aim to satisfy functional and efficiency-related standards, as well as symbolize gateways to new places and embody the essence of flight. The design of tomorrow's airport must anticipate and respond holistically to passenger needs, on both a practical and an aesthetic level, so as to create an experience that manifests in quality rather than quantity. The degree of that response at various airports around the world is what this thesis measures, deconstructs, and reimagines as a foundation for the final design proposal.