Airports have been drastically transformed since the 1970s, when you could smoke anywhere, stroll leisurely through security and hug your loved one at the gate before boarding the plane.
Passing through security these days takes forever and sometimes borders on harassment. The lighting is brighter than a World Series night game. Almost all the chairs have armrests, preventing you from splaying out. And the ambient noise — the endless gate changes, the last calls for boarding, the CNN late-breaking news — makes it almost impossible to relax.
It’s no wonder then that passengers often feel more like prisoners than clients.
How did we get here? Who is to blame? Why isn’t there a place in airports for not traveling? Not moving? Yawning a bit, slowing down? Catching some shut-eye maybe, or at least a little peace and quiet?
Why are airports built for everyone — the city, the airlines, the retailers — except for the very people who use them the most: the passengers?
One answer is a current trend of airport architecture that evokes an airport’s region and cityscape, yet doesn’t get bogged down in the small details of the interior design. […]