After flying home from Paris on Monday, I am convinced that the worthless labyrinth that is Charles de Gaulle airport is part of a deliberate French strategy to remove any separation anxiety in those tourists who are unhappy to be leaving France. By the time we got through security, I was downright thrilled to be going home; and this from a person who loves visiting France!
My father has a better, and less cynical, theory: he thinks that CDG was designed by a person who had never set foot in an airport.
It is certainly true that the nature and volume of air travel has changed in the 30+ years since the construction of CDG. But I must observe that good architecture, like good markets, is organic, robust and flexible. CDG always strikes me as an exercise in Cartesian hubris, in which the designers were so enamored with their vision that they ignored the forward-looking question of how useful and beautiful the design is likely to be in 20, 30, 40 years. It’s so rigid and maladaptive that the subsequent attempts to renovate it have only created incremental improvement.