airport design

DEN: 5 Things We Love About Denver International Airport

While we wait for air travel to rev back up, the “5 Things We Love About…” series on Stuck at the Airport is celebrating some of the features and amenities at airports around the country and the world.

Today we are giving some love to Denver International Airport (DEN), from it whipped marshmallow-peak tents to the aliens we’re sure are somewhere in – or below – all those acres.

Keep in mind that some of the features we love at DEN may be temporarily unavailable due to health concerns.  We are confident they will be back.

If we’ve missed an amenity you love at Denver International Airport, leave a note in the comments section below. The same goes for suggesting an airport you would like to see featured in a future “5 Things We Love About…” episode.

Here are the airports included in the “5 Things We Love About…” series so far.

5 Things We Love About Denver International Airport (DEN)

1. The DEN Tents

The 21 “tents” that make up the main terminal at Denver International Airport are described as echoing the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Native American teepees, billowing thunderheads or, perhaps, canvas-covered wagons toiling westward over the Great Plains.

2. The art at DEN

DEN is known for its unusual and eclectic art collection.

One favorite is “Mustang”.  Nicknamed, Blucifer, the blue 32-foot cast-fiberglass sculpture with neon red eyes is hard to miss on the Peña Boulevard approach to the airport.  “Mustang” was created by Luis Jiménez who, sadly, died after a piece of the sculpture fell on him while he was working on it.

DEN hosts temporary art exhibitions and has lots of permanent public art works, including Gary Sweeney’s “America, Why I Lover Her,” in the Jeppesen Terminal.

3. DEN’s CATS

DEN has more than 100 dogs and one actual cat in its CATS (Canine Airport Therapy Squad) program.

4. DEN’s Talking Gargoyle

“Notre Denver,” by Terry Allen, is an artwork featuring two cast bronze gargoyles sitting inside suitcases that watch over the east and west baggage claim areas.

These two gargoyles are charming, but they don’t talk. And due to construction at DEN, this work is in storage through 2021.

But DEN’s talking gargoyle, named Gregoriden, is on duty.

He’s set on a timer and says something to passersby every 5-10 minutes. Visit him on level 5 in the terminal near Southwest baggage claim.

5. DEN’s Gate Expansion Project

The gate expansion project at DEN will add 39 new gates across all three concourses. Better yet, the project is adding a post-security outdoor patio on each concourse featuring pet relief areas, outdoor seating, and fire pits.

Fire pits! We can’t wait!

Adorable airports of the future

Airports around the world are getting makeovers. In some countries, new ones are being built.

Travelers are excited about that, of course, but so are architects and people who appreciate great design.

In this article from Architectural Record, the Airport Construction Council notes that at least $70 billion is being spent over five years, beginning in 2017, to modernize 50 medium and large U.S. airports.

Most of that money and effort is going toward revamping, expanding or constructing terminals.

Some of the other airports and airport terminal projects featured in this article include Pittsburgh International Airport, Singapore Changi Airport and JFK Airport.

Courtesy Pittsburgh International Airport
Photo by Harriet Baskas

The new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport is mentioned as well.

Courtesy HOK and WSP

Winning designs for the airport of the future

What will airports look like in the year 2075?

For seven years, Fentress Architects has been running a contest asking students for their ideas about what the airport of the future might look like.

This year, students from more than 50 countries registered about 500 ideas.

Here are the winning proposals. Which are your favorites?

1st Place: Infinity Airport

This design takes inspiration from the torus knot, which appears like two overlapping infinity symbols.

“The general shape of this airport concept combines the complexity of the form and the ideology of infinity by creating the circular and endless concourse system,” explains winner Daoru Wang, of North Carolina State University.

2nd Place: Newark Airport Biophilic Headhouse and Community Nexus

The project uses a rail access and a consolidated terminal to explore the concepts economic analyst John Kasarda described in Aerotropolis, explains Samantha Pires, at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

This project “brings economic development to the community that it serves,” said Pires. “It proposes that the Airport of the Future should not be governed by fear and ‘security theater’ that runs modern airports. [Instead] it should be a place for community engagement, job opportunities and a catalyst for neighborhood development and benefit.”

3rd place: London Heathrow 2075

“In this design, a drive-through concept sits below the airport terminal allows aircraft traffic and waiting times to be reduced,” explains winner Christopher Johnson, at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, UK,

“Technological innovations suggest a reduction in physical passports, security and immigration as it moves to an online environment.”

People’s Choice Awards –Y3M

“This design envisions integration of an Elon Musk-like Hyperloop tube system and capsule fuselage technology,” explain winners Chai Yi Yang and Ng Yi Ming of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia…. “[T]he new model suggests a seamless transition from rail to flight—elementary yet expeditious.”

People’s Choice Award #2:  Six Lane City

“Today, O’Hare International Airport in Chicago extends over 12 square miles, most of which are not fully exploited. We decided to create a new form of city, 650 feet above ground level, which will be built on top of the existing lanes or runways of the airfield,” said winners, Riki Rozenberg, Evelyn Kreslavsky, Mai Whiteson at Tel Aviv University.

Our goal is to create an aerotropolis—an airport which integrates residential solutions, economic opportunities and cultural experiences, which, we think, will bring people closer together.”

First place wins $10,000; 2nd place $3000 and 3rd place $2000. Two People’s Choice Award winners receive $1000 each.

Airports are not islands: there are cities out there

While airports are indeed unique, intriguing  – and sometimes frustrating – places all their own, they don’t exist in vacuums. Travelers have to get to them and from them.

The film below explores the relationship between the city and its airports; in this case New York City and its multiple airports.

The film was created on the occasion of the AERIAL FUTURES: Urban Constellations think tank in New York City, and explores ways we might improve air travel and urban life by better connecting cities and airports.

 

 

Delta breaks ground on its new LaGuardia terminal.

Maybe – someday – we’ll love New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Again.

Signs are pointing in the right direction.

On Tuesday Delta Air lines broke ground on its $4 billion, 37-gate facility at LaGuardia – part of the over-all transformation of the airport we’ve been promised.

Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, was there, along with New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a variety of local and regional dignitaries.

“The groundbreaking at Delta’s facilities represents another step forward as we build an entirely new airport at LaGuardia,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Together with our private-sector partners, we are making rapid progress to create the world-class gateway to the Empire State that New Yorkers deserve.”

Delta’s new terminal promises four concourses with 37 flexibly-sized gates to accommodate Delta’s full fleet; a new, larger Delta Sky Club with a Sky Deck; new hold rooms with more seating; 30 percent more concessions space; and “sustainable and scalable technology befitting of an airport of the future.”

“We know the new LaGuardia is one that New Yorkers will be proud to call their hometown airport,” said Delta’s Bastian. “And we are confident that this investment will further cement Delta as the No. 1 airline in New York, with the best customer service and experience on the ground as well as in the air.”

Here are some drawings released by Gov. Cuomo’s office showing what’s in store. Let’s hope the art and greenery makes it to the final cut.