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The World's Top 5 Most Breathtaking Airport Designs

The World's Top 5 Most Breathtaking Airport Designs

BY HADI AHMAD Published on April 23, 2024 0 COMMENTS

Airports are more than just places for planes to land and take off; they serve as ambassadors of the communities they serve. In many cases, they provide the first impression of a city or country to passengers passing through.


With this in mind, it makes sense why airports all across the world boast some stunning architectural features. Here are some of the world's most breathtaking airport designs.


5. Oslo Airport


Oslo Airport


Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL) is the main airport serving Oslo and the country of Norway. It's far from the busiest airport in Europe, or the world. However, the airport is very efficient.


In 2017, the airport commenced a $1.67 billion terminal expansion project, creating a new building composed of recycled glass and steel in a semicircular shape. The terminal's shape contributes to its efficiency by regulating indoor temperatures during the cold winters.




Furthermore, ice scraped from the runways during the harsh winters can later be stored and used to cool the terminal during the summer months.


More on its efficient nature, Oslo Airport sees almost 70% of its passengers arrive landside using public transit. This contributes to fewer emissions and overall contributes to a more eco-friendly space.


4. Denver International Airport


Denver International Airport
Photo: Denver International Airport


In 2023, Denver International Airport (DEN) in Colorado was the sixth-busiest airport in the world and the third-busiest in the United States.


Perhaps the most famous aspect of Denver Airport is the roof of the main terminal featuring various Teflon-coated fiberglass tents. These are supported by a catenary steel cable system and are perhaps the most recognizable feature of the airport.




The tents are meant to replicate the snow-capped Rocky Mountains that line the landscape just miles from the airport. Not only this, but they also evoke Colorado's early history by resembling Native American teepees that were located across the Great Plains.


3. Beijing Daxing Airport


Beijing Daxing Airport
Photo: Zaha Hadid Architects


Daxing Airport (PKX) is one of the newest airports in China, located in its capital city of Beijing. 


The airport's main terminal building is a true eye-catcher and represents the "interconnectedness" of Beijing.


The terminal represents a starfish given its main central area and the various piers that extend outward. This radial layout reduces transit distances for connecting passengers. 



Beijing Daxing Airport Starfish Layout
The Starfish design of Beijing Daxing Airport. Photo: CNN


Its design utilizes natural light and boasts a massive rainwater collection system that purifies 2.8 million cubic meters of water annually for use within the airport.


2. Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport



Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD) located in Baku, Azerbaijan is another member of this list. Baku Airport's terminal was built by the Turkish firm Autoban.


GYD Airport's design is meant to capture Azerbaijan's hospitable culture. This point ties into the notion that airports are true ambassadors of their countries and all they have to offer.


The terminal was built mainly from a material known as Dekton. This is a very flexible type of stone and this characteristic allows for various eye-catching designs present in the structure.




Specifically, these include the iconic twisted triangular designs that are present throughout the terminal. As a bonus, Baku was named Central Asia's cleanest airport.


1. Singapore Changi Airport


Singapore Changi Airport
Photo: The New York Times


It would not be a complete list of the world's most breathtaking airports without mentioning Singapore.


Changi Airport (SIN) has consistently ranked amongst the world's best airports, and it is not difficult to see why. It not only serves as an airport, but also a local shopping center and entertainment destination.


Many may have heard of "The Jewel," which is Changi Airport's mixed-use development that includes a shopping mall and, most notably, a nature-themed complex. The Jewel is home to the world's tallest indoor waterfall — the Rain Vortex — surrounded by a terrace forest setting. The forest complex has over 200 varieties of flora in addition to the waterfall.




Changi has been named “World's Best Airport” dozens of times, and was the first airport in the world to hold this distinction for eight consecutive years.

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Hadi Ahmad
Lifelong aviation enthusiast raised in Central Illinois. 777 is the best plane BTW.

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