Tuesday, 29 September 2009

5 things the philospher learnt about Heathrow Terminal 5

Nice piece from philosopher Alain de Botton in today's Guardian about the things he learnt while being writer-in-residence at London Heathrow airport.

I particularly liked point #2

2 There's a British Airways check-in employee at Terminal 5 who, if you manage to be especially rude to her, will pretend that her machine has suddenly designated you for an upgrade. Then, just as she observes your scowl turn into a deferential smile, she will take a second look at her screen, sigh empathetically and announce that sadly the system has mysterious changed its mind and there won't be an upgrade after all. "That's a lesson that normally lasts a lifetime," she reckons.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Kim Høltermand captures Copenhagen Airport with a cool clarity

A new job does not time for blogging make. Thankfully things are settling down. Here are some stunning shots of Copenhagen Airport taken by the architectural photographer Kim Høltermand. Back soon ... (via computer love)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Hey dude, how far is the airport?

You know the drill. Buying budget airline tickets often needs a close examination of the small print. Airports listed as serving major cities are often miles away from their supposed location. According to Skyscanner, a flight-comparison website, "if you jumped on a train that said it was going to London, but it was actually bound for Oxford, you’d be pretty annoyed ... so how come they can get away with it when it comes to airports?"

The service has gotten out the map and the tape measure and come up with a definative list.

Here's a list of the worst offenders:

1. Munich West (Memmingen) – 70 miles (112km) from central Munich
2. Oslo (Torp) – 68 miles (110km) from central Oslo
3. Frankfurt (Hahn) – 68 miles (110km) from central Frankfurt.
4. London (Oxford) – 60 miles (97km) from central London
5. Stockholm (Skavsta) – 59 miles (95km) from central Stockholm
6. Barcelona (Girona) – 58 miles (94km) from central Barcelona
7. Barcelona (Reus) – 58 miles (94km) from central Barcelona
8. Paris (Beauvais ) – 55miles (88km) from central Paris
9. Dusseldorf (Weeze) – 50 miles (80 km) from central Dusseldorf
10. London (Stansted) – 40 miles (km) from central London
11. Tokyo (Narita) – 37 miles (60km) from central Tokyo
12. Verona (Brescia) – 33 miles (53km) from central Verona
13. Glasgow (Prestwick) – 32 miles (51km) from central Glasgow
14. London (Luton) – 32 miles (51km) from central London
15. Milan (Bergamo) – 31 miles (50km) from central Milan

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Living in the parking lot of LAX

Thanks to Bruce Sterling for pointing us towards this facinating story about a community of airline workers living in the parking lot of Los Angeles International.

As Bruce Sterling points out: "What’s really surprising is the drifter community that nucleated there and had to be chased off. Makes one wonder who would dwell in the parking lots of *abandoned* airports. Whoever they were, they’d be reading a lot of JG Ballard."

Monday, 13 July 2009

Sneak peak: Facelift for LAX Theme Building

First look at the refurubished Theme Building at LAX (above). It has been under wraps since a great, half-ton section of stucco crashed to the floor in March 2007. The iconic building is finally shedding the web of scaffolding in preparation for a relaunch in the fall.

Since the early 60s the Theme Building has been celebrated for its Jetson-like styling and its long, arching, parabolic legs. The building has been under wraps since it the accident, although the famous Encounter Restaurant has since reopened. We hope that the rooftop platform, which has been closed since 9/11 for security reasons, will also be open to the public.

We like the Theme Building. It's a fine example of an architectual style known as "Googie" or "Populuxe", once memorably described by William Gibson as "raygun gothic" thanks to its retro-futuristic styling.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Japanese airport trials 'personal mobility vehicles'

A Japanese airport has taken delivery of several futuristic people movers, allowing airline staff and security guards to patrol the ticket halls and baggage areas in some style.

A quartet of three-wheeled "i-Reals" have been put into service at Chubu Airport in Tokoname City, Japan. The three-wheeled vehicles, manufactured by Toyota, have a top speed of 15kph and a range of 30km. A combination of right- and left-hand levers control movement: pushing the sticks accelerate the i-Real - pulling them back slows it down.

According to tech site The Register, one of the I-Real's has been fitted with a medical kit, including a defibrillator, and a PC that passengers can use to check-in for their flights.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Spaceport America gets off the ground

The world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport began construction in the New Mexico desert earlier this week. The groundbreaking of Spaceport America initiates construction on a cutting-edge, 110,000-plus square foot facility which promises to herald an exciting new age for space exploration and development, at least for the super-rich.

The design for Spaceport America's terminal hangar facility, which in the image (above) looks suspiously like the Millennium Falcon, was created by a team of American and British architects that were selected after competing in an international design competition. URS Corporation, one of the world's largest design and engineering firms, teamed with lead designer Foster + Partners of the United Kingdom. The terminal should be completed some time in 2010.

Located near the White Sands Missile Range in state-owned desert 45 miles (72 km) north of Las Cruces and 30 miles (48 km) east of Truth or Consequences, it is currently under active development and is expected to be completed in 2010.