Witold Rybczynski reviews the history of airports with some prominent examples of airport design, and concludes that after a string of spectacular and ambitious airports -- and some equally spectacular failures -- perhaps a utilitarian approach would be best.
"What should an airport look like?...Excitement and elegance have long since worn off air travel. People just want to get where they're going as quickly and painlessly as possible. The best you hope for is that you get through the security line quickly, your flight's on time, there's space for your bag in the overhead bin, and if you're really lucky, the adjacent seat is empty. Airports have become as ubiquitous-and about as glamorous-as bus stations. Perhaps that's really the new model. In the talented hands of a Piano or a Foster, the bus station will be light and airy, but the kind of theatricality shown by the first generation of airports now seems out of place."