Megastructure Schiphol . Design in Spectacular Simplicity

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naio覺o publishers 2013

Authors Marieke Berkers Koos Bosma Iris Burgers Karel Davids Abdel El Makhloufi Heidi de Mare Anna Nikolaeva Jan Willem de Wijn

Photography Jannes Linders Data visualizations Lust Book design Reynoud Homan


Schiphol design in spectacular simplicity

Check-in Schiphol is a complex megastructure: a transit point and a destination; a city and an airport; international and at the same time quintessentially Dutch; clearly defined yet nebulous. From the moment travellers set foot on the airport’s premises they not only enter a building, they also become part of a process. This process – both the flow of people and objects as well as the physical surroundings framing this flow – is tightly controlled.

This book aims to provide an insight into the planning principles that underlie this Schiphol megastructure. The approach taken is an analysis of infrastructure, architecture, interior design and wayfinding. Like Schiphol, this book has different layers and scales that are aimed at unravelling the megastructure: visual essays, interviews, data visualizations and text essays.

Take-off Each visual essay shows a specific aspect that plays a role in shaping Schiphol’s space and that functions on its own scale: megastructure (1:10,000), infrastructure (1:1000), architecture (1:100), and interior and wayfinding (1:10). The subjects are investigated through essays comprised of images, and each visual essay is followed by an interview with a key player. 14

Data visualizations have been placed at the heart of this book and are based on statistical or planning expertise. They examine parts of the airport that are often difficult to understand such as size, scale, quantities (passengers, employees, office space), distances, corridors and bound­ aries that are connected with flight movements (baggage handling, noise, safety). 176

Text essays provide a deeper insight into how the megastructure was realized and how it functions, considering it from various perspectives, including the regional economic effects of Schiphol and the image of the airport in press photography. Each text contextualizes, in its own way, Schiphol’s development since 1967: from an ambitious airport to a global hub in the international air traffic network. 196

Structuring while drawing Jan Benthem has been Schiphol’s chief architect since 1988. Terminal-West (1988), which doubled the terminal capacity, is just one of his projects to have been realized at the airport. Benthem was not only concerned with architecture: until the appointment of Kees Christiaanse as urban planning supervisor he was also responsible for the long-term vision for spatial planning around the airport. This drawing is typical of Benthem’s work method: a didactic drawing that captures the future structure of the airport.

Megastructure Schiphol





Iconic air traffic control tower The present air traffic control tower (1991) is 101 metres high and can be simultaneously manned by eight air traffic controllers. It is the operational heart of the airport that is operated by Air Traffic Control the Netherlands. The tower was designed by NACO’s Thijs Veldman and implemented by De Weger. The silhouette of the tower is so recognizable that it also serves as the airport’s icon.

Megastructure Schiphol





Pictogram The airport’s increase in scale also created the need for revamped signage. Paul Mijksenaar introduced the pictogram into the airport in 1990. The designer knew from experience that pictograms on their own are too ambiguous. The pictograms at Schiphol were therefore added as an additional element to existing text signage.

Megastructure Schiphol


Interior Signage



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The Airport: Prototype of the Global City?


A regional phenomenon Schiphol is an airport that is active in the surrounding region. For example, it owns property on and around Schiphol. Moreover, the airport has grown so large that each new plan developed by the architect and planners is actually an exercise in urban planning. 1 A sketch typical of Jan Benthem, in which he manages to capture Schiphol in the future (2025) in a single drawing. The plan does not only include the airport but also clearly connects it with Amsterdam and the Zuidas. 2 The Zuidas with a direct connection with Schiphol.

Megastructure Schiphol




The following photographers, institutes and archives have kindly provided information and image material:

Authors Marieke Berkers, Koos Bosma, Iris Burgers, Karel Davids, Abdel El Makhloufi, Heidi de Mare, Anna Nikolaeva and Jan Willem de Wijn (interviews)

Aerophoto-Schiphol: / Etienne Jong: Theo Baart: Benthem Crouwel Architekten: Michel Claus: Dienst ruimtelijke Ordening Amsterdam: De Jong Luchtfotografie: Kho Liang Ie: Aart Klein / Nederlands Fotomuseum: KLM Media relations KLM Bedrijfscollectie / Maria Austria Instituut: Jannes Linders: Cary Markerink, Amsterdam: Mijksenaar wayfinding experts: Frits J. Rotgans / Nederlands Fotomuseum: Schipholarchief / Maria Austria Instituut: Stadsarchief Amsterdam: Siebe Swart: Total Identity: Fridtjof Versnel / Jan Versnel: Jan Versnel / Maria Austria Instituut: Zwarts & Jansma Architecten:

Editor Koos Bosma Copy editing D’Laine Camp

© 2013, authors, nai010 publishers, Rotterdam. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Data visualizations Jeroen Barendse, LUST Photography Jannes Linders

For works of visual artists affiliated with a CISAC-organization the copyrights have been settled with Pictoright in Amsterdam. © 2013, c / o Pictoright Amsterdam

Image research Marieke Berkers, Iris Burgers, Reynoud Homan and Jannes Linders Image acquisition Marieke Berkers, Iris Burgers, Maaike Delemarre and Chantal Pieters

Although every effort was made to find the copyright holders for the illustrations used, it has not been possible to trace them all. Interested parties are requested to contact nai010 publishers, Mauritsweg 23, 3012 JR Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Book design Reynoud Homan Layout and typesetting Koen van der Weide Lithography Marc Gijzen

nai010 publishers is an internationally orientated publisher specialized in developing, producing and distributing books in the fields of architecture, urbanism, art and design.

Paper Hello Fat Matt Printing NPN Drukkers

Available in North, South and Central America through Artbook | D.A.P., 155 Sixth Avenue 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013-1507, tel +1 212 627 1999, fax +1 212 627 9484,

Publisher Marcel Witvoet, nai010 publishers

This publication was made possible by financial support from VU University Amsterdam Faculty of Arts / CLUE, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Creative Industries Fund NL and Van EesterenFluck & Van Lohuizen Foundation

Available in the United Kingdom and Ireland through Art Data, 12 Bell Industrial Estate, 50 Cunnington Street, London W4 5HB, tel +44 208 747 1061, fax +44 208 742 2319, Printed and bound in the Netherlands ISBN 978-90-5662-852-9 Megastructure Schiphol is also available in a Dutch edition: Schiphol megastructuur ISBN 978-94-5662-851-2