We walked for two days to find an inspiring eco-lodge, but just walked in circles at an ill-fated French airport
Airports should top any architectural hit parade I dream up, but frankly, it’s hard to find any to like. Where’s the airport that makes you feel, “Wow, I’m going somewhere”, or better yet, “Far out, I’ve arrived”? Most airports are strictly utilitarian, so what a shame that about the only airport that has made an effort to inject some “wow” fails so badly at it. Even before it started falling over, I’d disliked Charles de Gaulle in Paris – all those stupid beltways and transparent tubes making you feel like baggage, congested baggage retrieval and duty-free areas, and then, when you finally get out the door, the circular design seems to mean you inevitably walk through 359° to get to the exit you want.
Hotels are much easier to warm to than airports and one I really like is Tasmanian architect Ken Latona’s Bay of Fires Lodge on the north-east coast of his home island. It’s environmentally sound in every way you can think of but also manages to look spectacular, slicing like a razor blade through the treetops to project off the top of a rocky headland overlooking the Tasman Sea. Furthermore, you get kangaroos bouncing by the dining room window when you eat and you certainly feel quite justified in tucking in – guests at the hotel have to walk for two days just to get to the reception desk.
Get me out
All six terminals at Charles de Gaulle, the main airport in Paris, were designed by Paul Andreu, chief architect at Aéroports de Paris, starting with the first building in 1974. In May, a 30 m section of the 700 m curved-concrete roof of Terminal 2E – completed in June last year – collapsed, killing four people.
Tony Wheeler is founder and director of the Lonely Planet series of guidebooks.