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Five of the most showstopping airports of all time

From buildings based on Bedouin tents to waterfall-filled atriums, long gone are the nondescript boxes, claustrophobic corridors and tired terminals of the traditional 1960’s airport. Here, Deborah Scott, from component supply specialist Artemis Aerospace, reveals the five most showstopping airport buildings of all time.

Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore

Singapore - 30 Aug 2019: The Jewel Changi is the last architectural addition to the Singapore airport, with a record-high indoor rain vortex waterfall, a vertical tropical forest and a shopping mall under a glass dome.

Opened in 2019, Jewel Changi Airport is certainly a gem when it comes to airport architecture. Featuring the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex, and surrounded by a terraced forest setting, this nature-themed terminal building is a visually appealing haven for the 300,000 visitors that travel through it every day.  But it’s not just visually stunning, Jewel Changi Airport also offers an extensive array of entertainment, shopping and dining facilities – making it a destination in its own right!

Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Azerbaijan

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - SEPTEMBER 16, 2016: Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport interior. It is one of the six international airports serving Azerbaijan. The airport is located 20 kilometers of Baku.

One of seven international airports serving Azerbaijan, Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport’s Terminal 1 features giant oak-veneer cocoons housing restaurants, stores and other amenities that are flanked by concave walls of glass. The review ranking site, Skytrax, awarded it five stars in 2018 – just one of eighteen airports in the world to receive the accolade.

Marrakesh Menara Airport, Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco, 10th November 2009:Afternoon scene outside the new Menara Marrakesh airport. Grand Taxis (beige cars) await passengers. Tourists and locals can be seen in background. In the extreme background a film crew can be seen filming on location. The airport is separated from the main carpark (off camera to left) by an attractive garden.

With its striking lattice exterior, Marrakesh Menara Airport incorporates traditional cultural motifs that include Islamic ornamental designs and contemporary features with numerous stunning architectural elements. One of the largest and busiest in the country, the airport welcomed more than 6 million passengers in 2019 – who were sure to have been wowed by this building’s beauty.

Malvinas Argentinas International Airport, Ushuaia, Argentina

Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org/Horacio_Fernandez

Small but beautiful, Malvinas Argentinas is the southernmost international airport in the world and serves as a gateway to the Antarctic. Opened in 1995, the building features a charming pyramid-style design and includes spectacular views of the surrounding Martial Mountains.

Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain

Madrid Barajas airport, Terminal 4 or T4. Spain.

Visitors to Madrid-Barajas airport will not help but look up at the sweeping bamboo ceilings that gently wave through Terminal 4, creating a calming and harmonious effect – exactly what its architects had in mind when they set out to design a stress-free passenger experience. It’s no surprise that Madrid-Barajas’s Terminal 4 is the winner of six prestigious awards, including the RIBA European Award in 2008. The airport’s architects, Antonio Lamela, Richard Rogers and Luis Vidal, were also the winning team of the prestigious Stirling Prize for architecture in 2006.