Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Oh, for flying out loud

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posted on 2023-04-16, 02:25 authored by Gallagher, Sofia

This thesis proposes a redefinition of the approach toward airport terminal design by promoting the significance of the human experience, enhancing the understanding of how occupants interact within places of transience. Airports are significant structures often imposing on the landscape and are currently under threat of losing a sense of human agency. Regardless of scale and operation, airport terminals serve as vital thresholds to a place; it is that first experience of space that occupants respond to. Over the past decade, there has been a trend for designing airport terminals that support the efficiency of aircraft operation. Subsequently, there has been a lost sense of human agency embedded in the design process.

Shifting design to a human-centric lens whilst acknowledging the discourse between “non-place” and its impact on human occupancy may allow a terminal to be better aligned in its sense of place. With a shift for Seamless travel and autonomous process, the ‘modern terminal’ ideas of what a terminal space could be has changed. Faster transitions through the traditionally time-consuming process, such as check-in, mean increased dwelling time. As a result, the airport experience and experience of place need to be prioritised within the design process to better design for the human occupant.

The interrogation of the site, analysing existing typologies through the depth mapping software based on the space syntax theory, and experiencing site all established a range of parameters for the proposed design outcome. These parameters were developed through depth mapping software based on the space syntax theory. This process allowed an iterative design process that allowed for the interrogation of space and the experience these spaces created.

The research outcomes are a speculative exploration of how airport terminals can be designed to respond to place identity. This forms a proposed method to improve the effect of place and human occupancy in airport terminal architecture.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-NC 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

130101 Design

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Bakshi, Nilesh