Although airports are now best known for interminable waits at check-in counters, liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage, and humiliating shoe-removal rituals at security, they were once the backdrops for jet-setters who strutted, martinis in hand, through curvilinear terminals designed by Eero Saarinen. In the critically acclaimed Naked Airport, Alastair Gordon traces the cultural history of this defining institution from its origins in the muddy fields of flying machines to its frontline position in the struggle against international terrorism.
From global politics to action movies to the daily commute, Gordon shows how the airport has changed our sense of time, distance, and style, and ultimately the way cities are built and business is done. He introduces the people who shaped and were shaped by this place of sudden transition: pilots like Charles Lindbergh, architects like Le Corbusier, and political figures like Fiorello LaGuardia and Adolf Hitler. Naked Airport is a profoundly original history of a long-neglected yet central component of modern life.
“This charming history documents why airports have always been such intriguing places. Gordon wittily deconstructs air terminal architecture. . . . Here is a book with more than enough quirky details to last a long layover.”—People
“[A] splendid cultural history.”—Atlantic Monthly
“Gordon, an architecture and design critic, tells his story well, bringing to life some of the main characters and highlighting some of the important issues concerning urbanism and airports.”—Michael Roth, San Francisco Chronicle
“Gordon provides a truly compelling account of how airports had over the course of three-quarters of a century become the locus of not only modern dreams but postmodern nightmares as well. Don’t leave home without it.”—Terence Riley, director of the Miami Art Museum