A drawing in pop-art colours. In big letters on a yellow sign: “bagages”. In the top-right corner, a small signature and a date: “Ciriani ‘71”. The figurehead of neo-modernism worked with Marc Jung to design an airport terminal as part of a study launched alongside the competition to build a new airport facility in Luxembourg.
As this cover indicates, issue 156 of l’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui published in June 1971 looks at airports, an area of growing importance with the rise in air travel. The magazine is full of proposals and projects with finely calculated geometries. Readers find out about different types: terminals with finger piers (boarding bridges), satellite terminals, bussing (with bus systems), developed (or decentralised) terminals, mixed terminals… The design of such a facility would be “the outcome of a compromise between functional, technical and financial requirements.” So much for poetry! Jean Ellenberger, co-author of a project for the Geneva-Cointrin Airport, asserted, in his “informal discussion”, that he surprised himself by “only speaking of technical aspects” while his intention “was to speak about architecture”. He noted, “although the word ‘monument’ is no longer used, the fact remains that architecture must play the role of a machine designed to elicit emotions”. However, many airports are non-places. Architects see them more as “phases” rather than finished products: “these airport terminals are redeveloped, improved”, he says. Paul Andreu states that an airport is not intended to be “a goal”, but a “place of transition and waiting” characterised by its “lack of composition” and a “rejection of all forms of monumentalism”. Roissy 1 and 2 are, however, in terms of form, a subtle (and rare) tribute to forward-thinking, and even futurology. The architect cannot help but betray a taste for the “symbolism of forms”…
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This article by Jean-Philippe Hugron is extracted from AA Nr 430 – Productive city – published in May 2019.