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ARCHITECTURAL GEOGRAPHIES OF THE AIRPORT BALCONY: MOBILITY, SENSATION AND THE THEATRE OF FLIGHT

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ABSTRACT.

Contemporary studies within the apparent ‘mobility turn’ focus upon airports as sites indicative of our mobile world, yet they tend to forgo investigations of the contextual architectural geographies that shape and inflect these mobilities. This paper examines the relationship between the architecture of the airport balcony and practices of seeing. While recent scholarship has taken airports to be incredible symbolizers of power and places of heightened visual scrutiny, the paper explores how through the architectural mediation of seeing, early airports were designed to instil specific inspirations, beliefs and messages within the airport user – constructing a new and modern experience. Far from a blank space evacuated of social presence and meaning, the paper investigates how airport design interacts with and shapes social experience. By examining the mobile practices and experiences of inhabiting the airport balcony, the paper advances conceptualizations of moving and seeing by complicating their practice as ‘collective individuations’ of social, architectural and sensual engagements, registers, and percepts.
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Keywords: architecture; identity; mobility; sensation; transportation; visuality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Earth Sciences and Geography, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, United Kingdom., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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