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Bulgaria Capital Airport World's 10th Ugliest.

The Bulgarian capital airport "Vrazhdebna", better known as Sofia airport, has been named the tenth ugliest airport in a ranking by the US magazine Travel and Leisure.

"The old terminal is, as you'd expect, an unpleasant amalgam of styles and additions," the magazine writes. "The new one should have been an improvement-with many of the characteristics of today's best airports, like lots of glass and high ceilings-yet it wound up looking like one of those impressively shiny but irredeemably wrongheaded post-Communist showplaces."

According to the magazine the Sofia airport leaves visitors with the impression that the builders had the right kit of parts but failed to read the assembly instructions.

"Perhaps it's the conical columns that recall a row of Apollo space capsules; or the strange main entrance, more suited to a second-string corporate headquarters than an airport," writes Travel and Leisure.

According to the magazine about 90% of the world's airports-from jam-packed hubs like Frankfurt to dusty outposts like Muscat, Oman-could easily compete for the title of world's ugliest.

The authors of the ranking underline that while each beautiful airport is beautiful in its own way, the ugly ones blend together in a fog of beige paint and low-hanging acoustic-tile ceilings.

John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, a "resolutely hellish" airport with "endless blank corridors and stairways" tops the ranking for the world's ugliest airport.

"More than dysfunctional, it's completely bananas," says Museum of Modern Art design curator Paola Antonelli.

Especially loathed are the Delta terminals, which industrial designer David Gresham calls "filthy, dilapidated, and unclear in any sense of signage or direction."

John F. Kennedy International Airport is followed in the ranking by Charles de Gaulle, Paris. It is described as "a symbol of a fiendishly technocratic world where nothing works and nobody cares".

British design guru John Thackara, who lives in the south of France, believes the airport "has rendered everyone who works there sociopathic. Its staff are literally unable to empathize with the appalling experiences they inflict on passengers." The only upside is that the rabbits seem to enjoy the airport's grassy environs.

Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, came in at spot three. Moscow-born, New York-based architect and designer Constantin Boym observes, "Sheremetyevo was built in the '70s in the 'heroic' international style, and on a hexagonal grid. It's a nightmare to navigate because all the walls and passages are at 60-degree angles to one another."

Heathrow Airport, London, has been ranked the fourth, which, according to the authors, nobody knows what it looks like. The American magazine describes it as "four shopping malls that have been smashed together."

The worst offender is Terminal 3, built in 1961 and distinguished by a bizarre system in which passengers are corralled into a low-ceilinged central seating area and not permitted to pass through security to their gates until departure time.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Date:Feb 15, 2010
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