No. 275 . 15 February 2006 
ArchitectureWeek
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Madrid Takes Flight

by Rachel Grossman

In 1930 Le Corbusier wrote: "the beauty of an airport is in the splendor of wide open spaces" and added that the most appropriate architecture would emphasize "sky, grass, and concrete runways." Barajas New Area Terminal (NAT) in Madrid, a joint venture between Richard Rogers Partnership (London) and Estudio Lamela (Madrid), lives up to that height of inspiration.

The freestanding structure makes a beautiful use of light within lyrical public spaces. Travelers can feel connected with the outside landscape, rather than confined within a labyrinth.

The building provides a positive sense of being at a true point of departure. Its exuberant architecture brings back a sense of expectation to modern travel. Barajas NAT conveys a spirit of adventure, instead of the claustrophobic sensations generated by the endless "fingers" "chutes," and passageways that characterize so many airports.   >>>

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