Sunday, March 17, 2013

Airport Terminal Design Matters

Walking through the American Airlines Terminal at JFK, designed by AECOM and completed in 2008, is a reminder how transportation facility design matters as a joyful and efficient first/last impression of a destination. While not extravagant, this terminal is simple in layout, has abundant natural and discreet artificial lighting, uses a durable and attractive material palette, and is lined with retail shops that seem to be placed by a museum curator. However, the best part of this experience - which could not be photographed - is TSA's pre-check security station; no need to remove shoes and pull out laptops sans the humiliation of a pat-down. As the expert traveler next to me said, "This is almost like the old days." Cities with aging, cluttered and poorly designed airports with brutal security protocols beware: your destination is only as good as your aviation architecture! Dean Sakamoto photos

See AECOM site at

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Urban Observation: Funny (or Sad?) House Addition

A peculiar house addition under construction on University Avenue in Honolulu, located (ironically) across the street from the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture. While the green and yellow wall sheathing  is visually striking for now (it should eventually be clad with another architectural finish like shingles or faux plaster), the addition's haphazard building proportions, placement/size of windows juxaposed against the old house is too weird to be an accident. While this could be a new architectural genre we have yet to learn about, questions that beg to be answered include:
1) Has any thought been given to the quality of day light and ventilation inside?
2) Is it structurally sound and did its designer do the necessary due-diligence and obtain a building permit?
3) How does this conform to zoning for single-family use and the required building height envelope?
4) What will this addition be clad with? Is that a dog house up top?
Ultimately, this observation raises the issue of architecture as a reflection of its place and time... of yesterday, today, future or, none of the above.
Dean Sakamoto photo