Each person have their own standard when rating airports, some may rank one as the best based on its facilities, the service time, or simply by it’s cleanliness. However, many people may not notice the thing that really gives it an edge over the rest, the creativity and architecture it employs. Slowly, airport around the world are reinventing their cosmetic appearance it’s the first thing travellers see after the plane lands.
Billions, even trillions, are being spent on installing rooftop pools, state-of-the-art theatres, and beautiful runways, as a way of spicing up the airports. They see it as a way to attract potential partners to invest there.
10. Wellington Airport, New Zealand
Probably the most boring airport up until a few years ago, Wellington airport has had a couple of upgrades that make it one of the coolest in the world, though uniquely so. In 2003, a statue of Gollum (from the movie Lord of the Rings) was put up, and that quickly boosted it’s popularity. However, they didn’t stop at that. Seven years later, a lounge that put you into the scene was built. This airport is bizarre and realistic, but that is what gives it an edge, and that’s why it’s the last of the ten.
9. Baraja Airport, Madrid
With an airport terminal that’s over 760,000 square meters (largest in the world), Baraja Airport handles approximately 35 million passengers annually. The roof is one of the most spectacular things about it, it has a couple of well laid out glasses to control the amount of natural light entering the building. Antonia Lamela and Richard Rogers did an awesome job in designing it. Moreover, the walls are made of glass instead of concrete which gives it the outdoor feel. It also has a spa, and a couple of boutiques to keep you busy in case you have a layover.
8. Changi Airport, Singapore
Changi Airport has its architecture carefully designed to alleviate stress associated with travelling. The design is meant to make one feel very much at home, as seen by the butterfly garden, lush greenery and the five-meter high green wall. The airport has a napping facility and a couple of vegetable gardens in it. It even boasts of having a rooftop pool, movie theatres, showers, spas and a four-storey slide. It has been ranked as the best airport in the world a couple of times since its completion. It drives away the sad, lonely feeling associated with airports. It is one of the most structurally endowed airports.
7. Incheon Airport, Seoul
This is an airport that receives much of its credit from the services they offer. It has a spa, sauna, ice rink and casino. The numerous restaurants in it offer a wide range of cuisines. It is home to the famous Panorama lounge, where you can get a bird’s eye-view of planes taking-off and landing. The buildings were purposely based on Korean homes layout and are meant to portray their culture.
6. King Abdulaziz Airport, Jeddah
Located in an arid area, the airport was designed with the warmer temperatures in mind. Designed by Horst Berger, the airport has a tent-like roof that gives it an open-air feeling and makes travelers feel sheltered from the hot sun, while maintaining the sense of being exposed to an abundance of fresh air. It is near the Holy City of Mecca, and it is designed to accommodate the numerous pilgrims who visits on a yearly basis.
5. HONG Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
This is one of the busiest airports in the world and also ranked among the top in terms of dining and baggage. The unique feature of it is that it has a nine-hole golf course that helps to keep its travelers busy. It also has a flight cabin simulator where people can experience what pilotes feel during flight. With the largest IMAX cinema in China, the airport is definitely a good place to spend your time during long layovers. Entrance to subway that connects it to Downtown Hong Kong is also located inside the airport.
4. Menara Airport, Marrakech
This airport was designed by E2A firm in Morocco, with the aim of blending modernity and the traditional Islamic culture. From the outside, it looks exactly like a honeycomb, However, once you enter, it makes you feel like you are out of this world, on another planet from elsewhere. It’s also an energy efficient airport, as it is run by the power produced by 72 photovoltaic pyramids panels on the roof.
3. Helsinki Airport, Finland
This is one of the busiest airports in the world. It serves nearly 15 million people each week. It has incredible art exhibitions, with a one-of-a-kind art-house cinema that shows short Finnish films. It also houses a couple of art sculptures from various places of the country.
2. O’hare airport, Chicago
This is probably a very good place to have a layover. It has beautiful designs, and the airport itself spans over a large piece of land, with light rails that joins together the various buildings. Moreover, the Hilton hotel is built right next to it, which makes it easy for weary travellers to enjoy the services offered there, which includes a sauna, gym, steam rooms, spa, and all the amenities a five-star hotel has. The airport recently opened a yoga center, and welcomes everyone to join, or you can choose to take a walk around the airport and enjoy the nature if you wish.
1. Beijing International Airport in Beijing
With an annual capacity of 76 million passengers, this airport is most busy one in Asia, and second busiest of the world. The airport’s third terminal has the longest stretch, spanning over 2 miles long, and made by Fosters architecture firm to model China’s most recognized symbol, a dragon. This terminal has a rooftop garden that spans 28000 square meters. Bus shuttles are offered for transfers between terminals because of the distance.