Touchdown exhibition - integrating airports and airport regions
Rotterdam, 2004
website Wonderland
within: extreme makeover - research on transformation areas
location: NAI Netherlands Architectuurinstituut, Rotterdam
duration: September to November 2004
camera and editing: Barbara Pella
exhibition curators: Saskia van Stein, Marlin Kornet (NAI)
5 short videos, based on 5 years of airport involvement, depict the complexity of integrating airports with their metropolitan areas.

Typology - rethinking the architecture of airport terminals
When Eero Saarinen’s TWA-terminal at JFK was opened in 1962, it rang in a new, glamorous era in air-travel. Its elegant terminal hall, a heroic gesture for the major US- gateway at that time, immediately became a highpoint in airport design.

Since then, it looks as if no categorical reinvention of the airport building has taken place; it has just been further stretched in size, adapted to mass transportation and submitted to commercial exploitation.

System - urban approach for the expansion of different airport systems
Airports are not just airports anymore.
But what are they?

Contrast - from back-to-back coexistence to cooperation between airport and local community
The actual hosts to the European hub-airports are often anonymous municipalities.
The hectic building activity in the airport area takes place in the backyard of sleeping towns that sprouted simultaneously on the land of these once rural municipalities.

Polycentrality - integrating the airport in the airport region
Airport growth takes place in an increasingly paralyzed condition of planning

At the same time, most airport development still happens without concise framework of planning - let alone an actual ‘manifesto’ - of regional and metropolitan authorities for this Central Station of the 21st century.

Air-travel has changed. And it changed our world.

Air-travel has become a mode of public transportation.
‘Flying’ has lost its exclusiveness and is, today, an unpretentious part in the chain of mass-transportation. As such, it started to have an ‘urban’ impact.

Singular vs multiple perspective
Usually, airport issues are being dealt with in an isolated way.

The complex reality of airport planning, however, calls for a multiple instead of a singular perspective.

The set-up of the exhibition in a pentagon of the five levels of integration allows to assume the multiple perspective, when standing inside the pentagon and being exposed simultaneously to all five issues / videos, as opposed to the singular perspective, when standing outside the pentagon and perceiving only one video at a time.

'The conventional client has left the stage and the conventional architect no longer has a place. Architecture's sacred position has made way for a broader approach. Their architecture is composed of a mixture of social, socio-economic, technological and cultural developments. The designers attempt to get a grip on our increasingly complex society and hence to bring about change.'
(exhibition flyer, NAI)