What we're reading: February 2017

Abstract art, ingenious architecture and quirky facts collide in this glossy photography book about the world's most beautiful airports

Published 4 Feb 2017, 08:00 GMT, Updated 8 Jul 2021, 11:32 BST
The Art of the Airport: The World’s Most Beautiful Terminals by Alexander Gutzmer, Laura Frommberg and ...
The Art of the Airport: The World’s Most Beautiful Terminals by Alexander Gutzmer, Laura Frommberg and Stefan Eiselin.

This lavish guide to the world's most architecturally weird and wonderful airports covers hubs like Madrid and Los Angeles but also celebrates the obscure delights of, say, Queen Tamar Airport in the Georgian ski town of Mestia. The modernist, L-shaped tower sits like a lost Lego block amid the stark beauty of the Caucasus Mountains. Sadly, Mestia never drew sufficient tourist numbers to merit this quirky terminal being awarded an international airport code. 

Then there's the flying saucer-shaped Daocheng Yading Airport in Tibet, the world's highest civilian airport — only just within the realms of our planet's habitable atmosphere, at 14,472ft. Airports always tell a tale, some more fantastical than others. Take strange, craggy, copper-clad creation The Rock, an extension to New Zealand's Wellington International Airport. Based on the ancient Māori legend of two sea creatures, Ngake and Whataitai, it was designed to resemble the Cook Straight cliffs, through which one of the monsters threw itself on route to exploring the oceans.

There are enough facts here to make airport geeks giddy, including a 'boarding pass' panel for each entry, citing passenger and runway numbers, plus practical details like distance from the nearest city and tips on local duty-free novelties. Be still our quivering departure boards.

The Art of the Airport: The World's Most Beautiful Terminals by Alexander Gutzmer, Laura Frommberg and Stefan Eiselin. RRP: £25 (Frances Lincoln)

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Published in the March 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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