Airport Architecture

'Cathedrals of modern technology'
The new terminal at Madrid Barajas airport was designed by Richard Rogers and won the 2006 RIBA Stirling prize for architecture. Photograph: Allan Baxter/Photographer's Choice
Designs for Heathrow's new Terminal 2 show Norman Foster 'at his mighty best' according to the Guardian's architecture critic, Jonathan Glancey. A 'sequence of crisp, elegant, uncluttered spaces set under a single swooping, aerofoil-like roof', Terminal 2 strikes the balance between practical function and beautiful design. In the age of cheap, mass air travel, we take a look at some of the most ambitious and innovative examples of airport architecture yet.

Like a true Ballardian, I was awestruck by Heathrow's Terminal 5 departure lounge when I passed through it just two weeks ago. I was stunned by its scale, and the way it neatly balanced practical functionality with a kind of optimistic modernism. What was conceived of as a straightforward transitory space between destinations becomes an exciting destination in itself: a cathedral of modern technology.

Now, with talk of Norman Foster's Terminal 2 design show, The Guardian are hosting an online image gallery of the very best in airport architecture. You can view the online gallery by clicking here. I've also included a link below to J. G. Ballard's wonderful article 'Airports', first published in The Observer back in 1997.