I spent 7 hours in the Benito Juarez International Airport waiting for a connecting flight on Saturday, so I had plenty of time to think about episode #32 Design for Airports. In the episode, we hear from Allison Arieff about challenges and futures for airport design, using T2 at SFO as an example.
Mexico City also has a T2, completed in 2007 by Serrano Architects & Associates. T2 MEX is a post 9/11 terminal but it still has nearly as many shops and restaurants on the landside as on the airside. I found that very confusing. (Be sure to listen to the episode to learn what land- and air- sides are, if you haven’t already.) Something that wasn’t confusing, but totally cool, was the cadre of wheelchair bound employees checking ID and boarding passes at security, a unique employment program for people with disabilities which was implemented when T2 MEX opened.
Around 4 PM I was photographing an artfully built barricade blocking the entrance to the men’s bathroom. A middle-aged Aeromexico flight attendant approached me. “Do you work for a magazine. What are you photographing?”. “The barricade,” I replied, pointing to the bathroom, “it looks like a sculpture”. “Oh!” she smiled, walking away and positioning herself to take a picture of the barricade, too.
Around 7 PM I met a geologist. He was busy mapping mineral data to determine investment potential for a new open-pit mine in central Mexico. His flight to Montreal, Canada was scheduled to depart at 1:30 AM.
Last month the Mexican government unveiled plans to build an entirely new international airport. British architect Norman Foster of Foster + Partners and Mexico City-based Fernando Romero of FR-EE won the bid. Fernando Romero is the son-in-law of Carlos Slim Helú, one of the world’s richest men. (Carlos Slim Helú and Bill Gates are on a tetter-totter for the title depending on where the market closes on any given day).
An hour before boarding my plane a group of students took over the waiting area. It seems they are at the center of Mexico’s new design for airports, in more ways than one.
On a totally different note, we’d still like to see YOUR photographs inspired by Lights Out. Send us your pictures of the city (any city) at night—lights on OR off. Have a listen to the episode and then send images to our Flickr Group, email them to [email protected] or put them on Instagram with the hashtag #99PI. We’ll curate and present our favorites on our Instagram and Tumblr.
Kate Joyce is a Chicago based artist, architectural photographer, and the first image correspondent for 99% Invisible. Every two weeks, Joyce will release new and original work for specific episodes. She’ll also comb through her archive to find previously made photographs that are already in thematic conversation with current and past episodes. “I’m curious to see how audio will shape image and image will shape audio and what that will mean to telling stories about design over time,” Joyce says.
Now You See It is a photography project of 99% Invisible. We’d like to create a public dialogue by offering our listeners a new way to interact with our show, as well as their own immediate environment. The project includes the Image Correspondent Residency with Kate Joyce, and ongoing photo assignments for listeners.
We want to see what you hear! Submit your images to our Flickr Group, or email them to [email protected] or put them on Instagram with the hashtag #99PI. We’ll be curating and presenting our favorites on our Instagram and Tumblr.