Except for people who have their own jets, most would agree that the romance of air travel faded long ago. But that isn’t stopping those who want to be on the move. Worldwide, aviation numbers are expected to double to 8.2 billion passengers per year by 2037, say estimates by the International Air Transport Association. Airports everywhere are racing to ramp up capacity, with $737.3 billion-worth of projects in planning, design, or construction globally, according to one industry-analysis firm.
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Many architects are trying to elevate the passenger experience by injecting airports with local flavor. “We try to capture the spirit of the place, even if it isn’t a top goal of the client,” says Laura Ettelman, managing partner in the New York office of SOM. Among her firm’s current projects is the 2.4 million-square-foot Terminal 2 at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, India, organized around a series of indoor and outdoor green spaces. The scheme, inspired by the tech hub’s history as a garden city, takes advantage of its benign climate and will offer a “rich, sensory experience,” she says.