New Terminal T4 Barajas Airport | The Plan
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New Terminal T4 Barajas Airport

Richard Rogers | Estudio Lamela

Europa | Madrid

If airports have become machines for processing people and baggage, then architecture should be the art of humanising that process. Airport traffic is growing at the rate of 8-10% annually, a doubling in numbers of over the last 7-8 years. Airport terminals are forced to process far more people than ever before, and, with two specific commercial forces driving the industry – the booming traffic in low-cost travel and the increasing consolidation of airlines into international airlines (which may result in the operation of just 4-5 major airlines in a decade’s time) – change is the only constant.
Changes at every conceivable level – physical, infrastructural, technical, technological, commercial – have meant that airports are in enormous flux as urban places. This makes them a ‘fascinating’ field for architects to operate in, says Simon Smithson, who runs the Madrid office of...

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