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Airport Design Proposal Imagines Runways Among Rooftops

With space at a premium in Europe’s fastest growing city, one architect offers a solution that integrates the infrastructure of an airport directly into and above the streets of Stockholm.

For the city of Stockholm, the work of a recent graduate offers a glimpse into the future of one of Europe’s fastest growing urban areas. In a conceptual proposal, Alex Sutton, a student of London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, envisages a new district of the Swedish capital in which airport runways are integrated into and raised above the cityscape.


Rather than being relegated to the outskirts of a city, Sutton’s concept, entitled Stockholm City Airport/Airport City, sees small terminals, a baggage system and short-length runways slotted around apartment blocks, offices and cultural buildings.

Speaking to Dezeen, Sutton explained the impetus behind his design, saying, “Travel demand in the aviation industry is set to double by 2030 and continue increasing exponentially … In order to satisfy demand … capacity in the industry needs to increase.”

For those worried about the impact that airport noise could have on urban residents, Sutton’s model uses an elevated taxi-track system to move planes from terminal to terminal. During transit, a plane’s engines would be disengaged until take-off, minimizing noise.


These raised tracks, he said, help to “create a physical barrier between the city and airport infrastructure for security, but also to create a sense of the magic of flight, with these amazing machines passing gently above.”

Passengers would be conveyed through the space by a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system, which Sutton envisages as a series of pods moving along tracks. Self-service baggage kiosks would also be located alongside these PRT stations, allowing passengers to drop off, track and procure their luggage via smartphone.


Sutton’s concept also includes a system of waterways beneath these elevated tracks. This not only helps to retain Stockholm’s traditional aesthetics, but – along with cycle routes – also provides an alternative mode of transport.

His project, “responds to the developments that are being made in aviation today, such as the local flight context, take-off and landing, aircraft ground movements, security, passenger processing and ground operations.”

Taken as a whole, these innovations, Sutton believes, may one day help to “provide a better relationship between the airport, the city and the traveler.”

[Photos: Alex Sutton via Dezeen]

Comments are Closed.
WChou July 21, 2015

Man, this brings back memories of being in my 20s. I would love to kick my younger self in the butt for the following mentality: "I graduated from an institution of higher learning and I know everything. If people listened to me every problem on the planet will be fixed. Those dumb idiots doing this for 10, 20, and 30 plus years obviously know nothing. My concept meets none of the standards for safety, practicality, engineering best practices, or cost effectiveness but it will work based on my zero years of experience."

cestmoi123 July 21, 2015

"Runways Among Rooftops? It's Possible!" No, it's not.

bricksoft July 21, 2015

What ever the architect is on I want some! Two areas why this is not a good idea Noise levels in the city would be unbearable Occasionally a plane will overshoot or slip of the runway on to a grass verge this normally results in very few serious runways. If a plane come off the runways in this "vision" it will be falling on to city streets and into office blocks