As I mentioned in an earlier post I was in Lubbock last week to present the High Cotton project with Jonathan Card. I always enjoy flying out to the South Plains - the view from the airplane window of the polka-doted patchwork created by the pivot irrigators always brings a smile to my face. The same can be said of Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport.
Lubbock's current terminal was built in 1976 and was later expanded to have a total of nine gates. This is somewhat odd given that only three airlines service the airport and there are only five destinations to which you can fly to directly. All of these are within the US which makes the "international" designation somewhat misleading.
The airport seems to have been designed to accommodate growth that never came. What that means is that the airport functions today as you would like all airports to function everywhere. Navigating the airport is relaxing in a way that airports typically are not. Although most airports sport generic "high-tech" aesthetic gestures, LBB feels specific to its particular place in a way that most airports do not. The line at security is never long and it seems like the walk to your gate is always short. The concourses are wide and relaxed and seats are always available. Given its location past the edge of suburban Lubbock development, the large windows of the terminal look past the tarmac to the broad horizontal landscape of the region. The concrete is colored like the reddish dirt that defines the South Plains landscape and so the building itself seems contextual.
The airport might not be used to the degree that its designers had imagined, but how it provides a model for what other airports should aspire to be.