‘Terminal Architecture’

My fascination lays in the social and emotional functioning of our surroundings. The ‘favourite place’ is central in this fascination; in a world becoming more homogeneous everyday, distinction from one place to another, and consequently affection for one place specific, may become more difficult.  I have a special connection with the word and the idea: ‘place’. This started in my bachelor, (landscape architecture) and is very well noticeable throughout the projects that i did during my master. (architecture)

My final project at the TU Delft led me to the question: ‘How can people find a  place to stay and wander in an airfield ?’ Since airfields are built for maximum cost and time efficiency all valuable minutes before flight are used seducing the already stressed traveller into spending just a bit more. In my opinion nothing is more ugly than capitalism under pressure. Ofcourse i am open for discussion.

Additionally believe that a very big part of the experience is also determined by the fact that every individual is considered a potential criminal. You actually feel relieved after you have been approved of ‘not being of criminal intent’ so allowed passage in to the ‘limbo-zone’ in between the security and the gate. [air-side]  The security zone within the airport can be seen as a rudimentary element that has the remembrance of less friendly times , left there in place as fall-back mechanism. You never know what might happen if one abandons this last threshold.  The combination of this controlled environment and the financial stress in which it is created results in an inhuman place.

So what is the deal with terminals: is it political? Is it economical? Is it aesthetics?

Train stations aren’t as inhuman compared to airports. There is a romanticism associated to a train station, especially if it is a large one,monumental and imposing, situated in the centre of a big town. It puts you in touch with the world around you, and travel by train is a truly dignified way of moving around. I aim for a more grandeuse aesthetic design of the terminal.A higher level of convenience and happiness. But above all i want to design a terminal that offers a place that evokes a serenity that suits the magic of flight..

My research is focussed on ‘the staying in an airport’, it aims for defining and redefining of the current idea of ‘the Terminal’. The research will include various airports within the region of UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. [Both typological and historical]

My research commences with a broad study, from the ‘architecture of waiting’ to the dynamic of the airports lobby, secondly it separate and organizes the results into categories of ‘quality of waiting’ and ‘quality of wandering’. Thirdly I aspire to reach out for other ‘terminal architecture’ typologies [such as the train-station] hoping to collect and study references of different interesting types of ‘waiting rooms’, ‘lobby’s and ‘shops’.


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About Tom Thijssen