background image
Page 15
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 1
mostly, and I asked him to go ahead and de-
sign the terminal building, large jet hangar,
and arrival canopy--three structures that
seemed to sit side by side, that were in fact
attached, and were conceived as a large uni-
fied architectural superstructure.
According to Howard, airport architecture
had a distinctive building typology with fea-
tures that originated in the Golden Age of
Aviation--the period between World War I
and World War II (1918-1939)--when aviation
was booming and airport architecture took
on a look all its own--with sweeping termi-
nals and curved walls and vaulted roofs and
angled control towers.
Until the 1920s airport architecture was as
dull as an old shoebox, utilitarian and mind-
numbingly functional. As for soaring, light-
filled, and surprisingly welcoming spaces,
forget about it. Airport buildings were consid-
ered a drain on cash flow and thus construct-
ed as cheaply and efficiently as possible, us-
ing common materials and right angles with
little or no thought given to the artfulness of
the design.
After the war all of that changed, in part,
because of America's new fascination with fly-
2011. View of curved aircraft arrival canopy.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Y. Wong/Atelier Wong Photography.