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Heathrow's T2: A New Model for Airport Design

Video: Update on Heathrow Airport's T2

Intuitive design, natural light: what New York’s JFK can learn from Heathrow’s T2.

You’ve got to give Spanish architect Luis Vidal points for standing before an audience of hardened, JFK-weary New York City travel reporters and declaring, “Terminals today are the cathedrals of the twenty-first century.” Vidal designed the newest addition to London’s Heathrow Airport, the $4 billion Terminal 2, opening this month. T2, also called the Queen’s Terminal, is one of those sunlight-bathed, technologically of-the-moment facilities popping up in airports from San Francisco to Mumbai, restoring a degree of pleasure to air travel. But cathedrals? Vidal argues they were once “gathering places and icons” of every city. And that, he reasons, is what airports are today.

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Norway: Where Reindeer-Spotting Meets Design

live reindeer site

Home to some of Europe’s last remaining reindeer herds, Norway’s windswept Dovre Mountains, about five hours north of Oslo by car, now offer a warm and visually stimulating spot for design pilgrims and animal lovers alike: Tverrfjellhytta. Commissioned by the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Foundation and designed by cutting-edge architecture firm Snøhetta, the site appears to be made of weathered driftwood (actually, it’s pine, sculpted by shipbuilders using computerized milling technology). Inside, the organic-looking benches face an expansive glass wall—the ideal perch for taking in a few real-life reindeer games.

Photo courtesy of Snohetta / Ketil Jacobsen

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