“It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression “As pretty as an airport.” Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort. This ugliness arises because airports are full of people who are tired, cross, and have just discovered that their luggage has landed in Murmansk (Murmansk airport is the only exception of this otherwise infallible rule), and architects have on the whole tried to reflect this in their designs.”
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul
That can’t be said, however, of the shiny, clean and efficient Barajas Airport of Madrid where I landed at 7AM local time. I may have just come off the plane with less than six house of sleep under my belt and a body telling me that it had just gone midnight in the midwest but I perked right up and reached for my camera as I was walking up the gangplank into the new Richard Rogers designed termainal.
The international terminal is a long somewhat undifferentiated walkway, with departures spreading out over the ground floor and arrivals efficiently directed along moving walkways one floor up back towards passport control. My flight came in at the very end of the terminal so I got to experience the gradually shifting colors of the powerder-coated steel struts holding up the undulating roof. Once finally out of the long corridor (3/4 miles long) the rest of the building holds up with interesting overall experiences made up of repetition of fairly basic and utilitarian objects like the oversized round lights which spread across the ceiling of the baggage claim area.