Finally, a tower with some architectural pizazz here in the US.
No surprise to find it at SFO, one of the few American airports that bothers to distinguish itself.
Over at LGA
, on the other hand, we recently lost one of the country's most distinctive towers. Frequent flyers remember this building well -- hourglass-shaped and of modest height, bejeweled with a top-to-bottom series of portholes. It was an odd, playful structure.
The new LGA
tower is what you might call the FAA Standard Model A1 -- a control tower that looks like every other American control tower put up over the past 20 or 30 years. I think they come prefab in a great big packing crate.
The old one may not have been state-of-the-art, but it was a welcoming, almost mischievous visual flourish in an otherwise joyless vista of seawater and concrete. It lent a friendly touch to an airport that, in most respects, is anything but friendly. It was, almost literally, an exclamation point. It said: LaGuardia!
Airports, like the planes that serve them, have become painfully generic. Functionality aside, part of any major airport building’s job is to create a sense of identity, inside and out – the kind of place that, when you glimpse it TV
or in a movie, even for just a second, you know * exactly * where it is.
A dwindling number of airport facilities are distinctive in this way. The spidery "Theme Building" at LAX
is the most enduring. The main terminal at Denver is another, as is the one at Washington-Dulles (Eero Saarinen).
And, we shan’t forget my sentimental favorite, the twin-stanchion control tower at Boston-Logan.
If only its 16th floor observation deck were still intact.
[Edited 2012-06-27 19:25:52]