New culture and philosophy of Airport design
When you’re rushing or loitering in an airport, do you think about how it all works? Who designs these places, how they’ve changed over the years and how airports – and passengers – differ across the world.
Landrum and Brown are the world’s oldest aviation development and planning company, founded in 1949. They’ve got offices around the globe, including Melbourne, but what they do remains largely invisible to us. In terms of airport design, it’s becoming much more local by trying to inject a sense of local identity and reflect something about the place where the airport in Melbourne is trying to capture sort of the laneway feel. At Hobart airport, architects are trying to pick up on Tasmanian themes through color and materials so to give a sense of local identity.
The biggest two differences between American and Australian airports are: Security; which is more akin to the international security that we see. Ownership and governance of the airport in the America are actually owned by the public and by the government or quasi government organizations. Whereas in Australia, all of the airports have been privatized, which changes the way capital is unlocked and how airports can expand. It means that there’s the ability to create a shopping center rather than a strictly airport driven hub.
The basic drive of designing an airport is getting people from A to B. However, it’s about making their journey within the airport the fastest and the most pleasurable. One of the issues in an airport for the passengers is they spend a lot of time there. They’re asked to come early. There may be delays and so on. Or, if you’re transferring through an airport, you may have to dedicate several hours at the airport. Passengers in airports are to some extent, a captive market. They have time on their hands, and if you’re just sitting and waiting for your plane to leave, there’s not much else to do when shopping is available. It’s a good time to do it.
Some airports have got skating rinks and other airports have got swimming pools and some have amazing amenities. Singapore airport was the originator of the idea. They put in cinemas before people carry their own media devices and so on to try and attract people through the hub. We’ve talked about putting gyms spas in airport so people can have that time relaxing, particularly during a long stopover.