Tow­ers

In a new book and ex­hi­bi­tion, pho­tog­ra­pher Carolyn Russo trans­forms the or­di­nary into art.

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Viewport - PHOTOS BY CAROLYN RUSSO

Air traf­fic con­trollers work in the world’s most dis­tinc­tive

build­ings. A pho­to­graphic 56

trib­ute.

Dubai’s avi­a­tion history be­gan in 1937 with the es­tab­lish­ment of a fly­ing-boat base for Im­pe­rial Air­ways. In 2014 Dubai set a record for world’s busiest air­port. The con­tem­po­rary air­port tower is crowned with a multi-level con­trol cen­ter. Swe­den’s Tors­landa Air­port opened in 1923; the last of its three tow­ers was built in the late 1960s. In Oc­to­ber 1977 the air­port closed; the re­stored tower is now a café. New York’s John F. Kennedy In­ter­na­tional Air­port is one of only two air­ports in North Amer­ica that has sched­uled di­rect flights to all six in­hab­ited con­ti­nents. The new con­trol tower, built in 1992, stands 321 feet high.

NOT EV­ERY­ONE WOULD look at the “creamy con­crete tex­ture and cir­cu­lar win­dows” of the now-de­funct Laguardia air traf­fic con­trol tower and think of Swiss cheese. Or glance at the Paris-orly tower and be re­minded of a birdie from a bad­minton game. For­tu­nately, Na­tional Air and Space Mu­seum pho­tog­ra­pher Carolyn Russo looks at things in a dif­fer­ent way. Since 2006 Russo has been pho­tograph­ing con­tem­po­rary and his­toric air traf­fic con­trol tow­ers around the world. Her lush, com­pelling im­ages have now been gath­ered into a new book, Art of the Air­port Tower, and can be seen in an ex­hi­bi­tion with the same ti­tle, which opens at the Mu­seum on Novem­ber 11, 2015, and runs through Novem­ber 2016.

Aus­tralia’s Syd­ney Air­port tower houses all of its staff ar­eas and bath­rooms on its ex­te­rior, in pods. The United Arab Emi­rates air­port opened in 1968 on the is­land of Abu Dhabi. The 1982 tower de­sign in­te­grates the cli­mate and lo­cal cul­ture. Built in 1929 for the Royal Air Force, Sin­ga­pore’s Sele­tar Air­port served as a mil­i­tary base and civil air­port un­til 1937. With its pink tower, Flamingo In­ter­na­tional Air­port is lo­cated on Bon­aire, a Dutch Caribbean is­land roughly 60 miles off Venezuela. The tower at Fort Worth Al­liance Air­port in Texas was de­signed by Al­bert Halff As­so­ci­ates and built in 1992. The cone hides the tower’s mi­crowave-sig­nal re­lay equip­ment.

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