Nicole Scordalakes

Nicole Scordalakes

Orange, CA, US


You Are Here: San Clemente International Airport

Architectural Thesis

My city and site were chosen for their ideal location as the midpoint between Los Angeles and San Diego, the two major hotspots in Southern California.  These two areas are congested and inadequately support air traffic needs, both for residents and tourists. The current "halfway" airport-- John Wayne International in Newport Beach-- inefficiently supports the region. John Wayne lacks a sufficient number of gates and destinations and, as a result, has more expensive fares.
John Wayne’s location also poses as a noise issue to the community; planes are forced to turn down their engines temporarily after takeoff, in order to not disturb the neighboring suburbs.
Aside from the location, the two airport specific problems my thesis addresses are the general lack of place identity or local character and the overall negative connotations and experiences that usually coincide with airports.  Denver’s International Airport was a substantial inspiration to me, and I would like this trend continued in all future airports.  With my aesthetics, I aspire to bring the beach indoors. An extensive use of transparency, lightness, and high volumes, creates such an atmosphere. In addition, the security and ticketing is completely separated from the rest of the structure and instead connected by a short tram ride.
At the entrance and end of each terminal is a viewing tower. The entrance towers' elongated spherical shape suggests serenity and unity with radiating structural members.  At the entrance, as well as at the end of each terminal, I’ve placed a “viewing tower”.  The former takes a more stretched spherical shape and suggests serenity and unity with radiating structural members.  My intention is to draw “day trippers” to the airport in addition to persons strictly flying.  The entrance tower showcases a gallery and multi leveled bistro/café, which is ideal for plane watching and taking advantage of the ocean views.  At the uppermost level, the glass encasing the orb is operable, providing occupants with fresh air; the adaptable windows on the western face create cross ventilation with the former.  There are four elevator shafts through the middle of the tower, as well as a spiraling ramp.  The terminal towers are significantly narrower and shorter (measuring at 150’ versus 200’).  They are geared more towards travelers stationed at the terminal for or in between flights.  They only have one level—another sky café.
The local character is reflected mostly in the structure of the airport.  The towers’ radiating members echo the hills and ocean waves of San Clemente.  In the neck of the terminals, the arches resemble double wishbones, which are draped in swallowtail shapes, the iconic bird of the missions and neighboring town, San Juan Capistrano.

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Status: School Project
Location: San Clemente, CA, US