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Cologne Bonn Airport (1970)

Drive-In Concept
The heart of the airport is a pyramidal structure in exposed concrete, with the central arrivals and departure area situated on two levels of the main building. Short passageways lead to the four star-shaped piers, which offered parking positions for up to five planes. It was here, in close proximity to where the planes stood, that passengers checked in. The decentralised handling strategy is a key aspect of the drive-in airport concept, which was new at the time. DETAIL documented the project on 14 pages along with detailed drawings and photographs of the architecture in its July/August 1970 issue.
The room programme was aligned to a total of 3 millions passengers a year. Since the 2000s the airport has undergone continual enlargement, gaining among other things a train station and a large barrel-vaulted hall designed by Murphy Jahn Architects – an extension that led Schneider-Esleben to sue the airport operating company for copyright infringement. Today Cologne Bonn Airport handles over 12 millions passengers a year (effective 2018).

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A six-page project documentation on the original building by Schneider-Esleben is stored in our digital inspiration database.
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