"Does airport architecture really matter ? Can a specific building really differentiate among nodes on a global service route-map ? Are these epic vessels any more than switching stations, sheds of the processing of vast numbers of voluntary migrants/refugees ? Can architecture alleviate the sameness of the contemporary air travel experience, with its formulated speech, culinary deprivations and class distinctions inscribed in hierarchies of waiting areas [and today, in the complex ritual of boarding priority lanes]. The variety of forthcoming airports showcased in this section of the Biennale surely testifies to innovation in this building type. Yet so much besides the physical envelope of the airport conspires to provide travelers with their experience of this archetypal (non-) place: generic sounds, smells, signage and luminous back-lit advertising.
By now, we know by heart the Stations of the Cross in both directions, the sequence of operations and examinations to which we must submit in any airport; the hardware that enables smooth running – on the landside, at least. The queue control cords and stanchions, the X-ray archways [and now: Arms-in--the-Air X-ray cylinders], plastic buckets for laptops and mobile phones, imbricated metal baggage carousels, recalcitrant baggage carts. Each iconic airport tries to serve as a quasi-autonomous city, umbilically attached to the Real City (wherever your final destination may be).
But this seems to indicate nothing more radical than the persistence of a triumphalist 19th Century urban typology. Distributed around the world, rather than assembled on a designated plot in a given city, and intended to represent the might and technical bravado of their respective nations, contemporary airports are really just far-flung pavilions at a global World’s Fair."- Janet Abrams, là.Plus d'éléments de réflexion, là.
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