A Cultural History of the World's Most Revolutionary Structure
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
1. Prototypes: 1924-1930
2. Naked Airport: 1930-1940
3. New Deal: 1933-1941
4. Air Power: 1939-1957
5. Jet-Land: 1957-1970
6. The Sterile Concourse: 1970-2000
Epilogue: From Lindbergh to Bin Laden
“Captivating and informative . . . can be warmly recommended, both for its richness of detail and Gordon’s easy command of architectural style.”
“Gordon’s engaging history tells the story of how airports have changed—from the first muddy airfields transporting people into a new world of experience (the ‘20th-century version of sublime’), through their transformation into ‘symbols of progressive thinking and utopian planning,’ and their sad decline into ‘an allegory for all that was dehumanizing in modern life.’”
"A sophisticated analysis [that will] attract many readers."
"An epic story."
"Naked Airport is as exhilarating as it is literate and informative."
"Splendid perspective…"--Desert Morning News
"Alastair Gordon's breezy, engaging new book Naked Airport . . . ingeniously traces the development of airport architecture."
" Gordon's lively history [is written] with an eclectic range of reference and an eye for detail . . . smoothly blending cultural and aesthetic history."
"Taxi-ing smoothly between architecture, planning and social history, Gordon explains how the soar-and-crash record of the airport as icon mirrors the rise and fall of technology-driven optimism."
"A richly illustrated and highly readable account of airport design as a social phenomenon."
"Naked Airport racks up elite-status frequent-flier miles as it ranges across airports on every continent."
"Gordon's prose is deft and witty. . . . Naked Airport elegantly traces the development of air travel by positioning the airport as a metaphor for our relationship to history and the rest of the world, capturing both the excitement and the anxiety of modern flight."
"A fascinating and accessible survey of airport design."
"An important and engaging look at airports as typology."
"Gordon's compelling narrative shows how architecture is bound up with the rest of the world in a way that architectural histories too rarely do."