Terminal Silhouettes: YVR

Terminal silhouette of YVR (Vancouver)


Some airport terminals require a lot of judgment to determine what to include in the silhouette. Typically, I want to include the main structure of the building to represent the shape of the terminal, which means I normally exclude things like sunshades and jet bridges unless they are significant to the structure.

In the case of YVR, a lot of the jet bridges are not directly anchored to the terminal building; instead, they’re attached to the end of solid fingers that extend from the main structure. Ultimately, I decided to include those fingers, since they are permanent, immobile, and for the most part actually part of the building. (I did decide to exclude the jet bridges themselves, and the round stairs attached to many of the fingers.)

However, I also think the fingers clutter up the terminal silhouette quite a lot, and are a blemish on what I consider an otherwise beautiful silhouette.


Terminal Silhouettes: PHL

Terminal silhouette of PHL (Philadelphia)


PHL was an intricate terminal to draw, for a few reasons.

First, its baggage claims are on the other side of a road and a train track from its ticketing areas, and partially underneath the parking garages. This adds an additional building for each terminal and a number of skybridges, plus train stations for that train track.

But the parking garages pose a greater problem, because I don’t normally include parking structures in my terminal silhouettes unless they’re integral to the terminal design (for example, PHX or IAH). In this case, since the baggage claim areas are only partially overlapping the parking structures, I decided to leave out the parking. However, that meant I had to do a lot more research into the shape of the baggage claim buildings (from official airport maps and traveler photos) because I couldn’t see the entire baggage claim building in the satellite imagery.

Second, none of the concourses are perpendicular to the main terminal structure, nor are any of them parallel to each other. (Even concourses A East and A West on the left side of the diagram, which look parallel, are a few degrees different from each other.) This meant that I had to do a lot of rotation of the imagery to be able to use horizontal and vertical guides and the rectangle tool. For some smaller portions of the facility, I just used angled guides and the straight line tool, which are a bit more of a pain to use in Inkscape than simply doing unions of rectangles.

Still, overall, I really like the way this terminal turned out. Its proportions are nice (it’s not overly long in one direction), and it’s relatively compact so it’s easy to take in all at once.  The concourses create a pleasing fan shape, as well.