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Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World's Most Revolutionary Structure
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Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World's Most Revolutionary Structure

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  57 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The first full cultural history of the ultimate modern structure: the airport, revealed as never before

Since its origins in the muddy fields of flying machines, the airport has arguably become one of the defining institutions of modern life. In Naked Airport, critic Alastair Gordon ranges from global geopolitics to action movies to the daily commute, showing how airports
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 4th 2004 by Metropolitan Books (first published September 2004)
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The first chapter captured my imagination -- Charles Lindbergh, on his solo flight across the Atlantic, didn't recognize the airport at Bourget, France as an airport and had to circle around it twice before he was confident he had arrived in Paris. Imagine! It's impossible to not recognize airports these days, but they had to involve into the mammoth, organized structures they are today.

Gordon documents that organization, from the early days when airports were just fields, to their early archite
Frank Stein
A popular history but a solid one.

Although the first half the book dwells too much on the often ridiculous architectural detailing of individual airport terminals (London's was done up like an old manor house, Kansas City had "pleasure grounds" created to look like Versailles), this half also gives a quick and worthwhile history of early airlines. Apparently it was Lindbergh's flight in 1927 which created the American airline industry (passenger figures more than quadrupled the following year).
Charles Lindsey
Fun and informative reading for an aircraft junkie also curious about architecture (I can't be the only one, can I?). Gordon took on a topic that's surprisingly visceral: why do airports, and air travel, make us feel so melancholy -- so harried, so uncomfortable, so nostalgic for an era most of us never knew? It's amusing and touching to see how our forebears tried to manage the Age of Flight -- brave little Greek-columned terminals, with their brisk railroad-depot aura; silly homages to Versail ...more
Gordon does not offer a comprehensive, encyclopedic overview of all that transpired between the first rough-and-tumble tin shack in North Carolina to the latest gauzy megastructure in Southeast Asia…thankfully. This is also not some impenetrable esoterica about placeless, globalized space mirroring an increasingly shrinking world - my second guess/fear upon seeing the reasonably sized book. No, this is simply a nicely synthesized and engaging historical narrative about airports and airlines! Con ...more
Really interesting look at how the perception of aviation over its history has affected the architecture and design of airports. I wish it had been written a few years later; the end just barely touches on post-2001 changes and new airports in Asia & the middle East.
Slowly reading. Enjoyable cultural treatise on air travel and its surrounding architecture. Generally fascinated by this 'non-place' of transcience.
Very interesting account of the history and evolution of airport design. Especially fun for someone who spends a lot of time in airports.
Sep 03, 2010 Kristen added it
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unfinished - returned to library
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