The new trend among airport architects is to design from the user-point-of-view—a shift from the monumental, ego-driven buildings of the past where you made your way from one bottleneck to another. On a fundamental level it means improving the anxiety-filled experience that now characterizes air travel. Visually, the answer is light-filled, soaring spaces with floor-to-ceiling glazing, such as the “civic plazas” at the just-built Indianapolis International airport and at Raleigh-Durham International’s Terminal 2, designed to evoke the grand architecture of 19th century train stations.

The new design revolution offers more elbow room, loftier security areas, better wayfinding with simpler signage, and solutions for our collective need to be plugged in at all times.