Airport for the Year 2080

New York, US | 1999


A PROTOTYPICAL AIRPORT FOR NEW YORK CITY: Sited on the Hudson River, west of Midtown, Manhattan our proposal for an airport for the year 2080 develops an integrated airport and ground-transportation system for passengers and freight. The small scale dispersed nodes would be compact and highly localized to decrease commuting time to the airport. The transportation system would be part of a global system and owned by corporate nation-states. This intermodal transportation system calls for magnetic-levitation (mag-lev) high-speed surface transit to be hooked into small vertical-takeoff airports. The use of hypersonic vertical-takeoff aircraft would eliminate the need for long runways and provide flexibility in scale, capacity, and configuration of the airports. The prototypical airports vary in capacity for large and small planes and basically consist of a multipurpose platform or flight deck, much like that of an aircraft carrier, with a landing pad at one end, a takeoff pad at the other, and a taxi area in between. Beneath this platform are tracks that receive removable aircraft fuselages. These intermodal pods drop from the planes' underbellies at the terminal and then connect via mag-lev paths to central train station. A space frame roof covers the entire airport structure, which could be developed as an artificial parkscape. A passenger flying from New York to Paris, for example, could board the pod or compartment at a mag-lev transit station. The pod arrives at the airport, where it is hoisted off the tracks and taken into the underbelly of the spacecraft. While the spaceplanes are generically designed for overall efficiency, the pod would be outfitted according to the to the corporate/national sponsor's wishes. The passenger would stay in the pod for the duration of the trip, about half an hour to Paris, hardly enough time to consume the once-reviled airplane snack. The enclosing roof is covered by a composite structural-glass space frame , which is pleated and glazed. The landing deck is made of a polymer matrix reinforced with graphite fiber, while the aircraft would be made of titanium with an ablative (heat-dissipating) coating. The bodies of the pods are either fiberglass or graphite fiber. These flexible intermodal types process passenger and freight pods from ground-based mag-lev systems to air transport and vice-versa. The pods are designed so as to be compatible with a range of aircraft types, passengers and freight are not exchanged between modalities, but are literally shifted from one modality to another via the pods. These airports can remain relatively small yet have equal capacity to much larger airports because the function upon a highly cyclic rate rather than size.

Project Info

Type: Airport  |  Structure: Multiple


Project Credits


Jesse Reiser + Nanako Umemoto

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