Design + Architecture

The Visionaries

by Suzanne Wales


The vision: Fun functionalism: Structural elements become design features, and buildings are turned inside-out

Claim to fame: Terminal 4, Madrid Airport

British architect Richard Rogers has a particular fondness for Spain, especially the country's willingness to forge ahead with large urban planning and architectonic projects. Little wonder, then, that his firm was behind converting the tatty and antiquated Barajas airport into a pleasurable travel experience (at least if you are flying with the Oneworld group that operates from T4). Opened in 2005, Madrid's Terminal 4 ushered in a new era of airports. Sheltered by a graceful undulating bamboo roof supported by steel "trees," the only dividing spaces inside the terminal are stylish light shafts. Every functional element has been lent a creative hand, from the luggage carousels that could have been lifted from the set of Star Trek to the centurionlike AC units.

Madrid Barajas Airport
Tel: 34 902 404 704

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