Taking Wing (Elmdon Air Terminal, Birmingham, UK)

The Beauty of Transport

I suppose if you wanted to level any criticism at the architecture of some early air terminals, it is that they could – possibly – be mistaken for other things. Croydon‘s looks a bit like a grand town hall, Shoreham and Speke are in the Streamline Moderne idiom and could (control towers aside) pass for one of the many factories built in the same style. No such charge can be levelled against this week’s transport beauty, which has enlivened the built environment of south-east Birmingham for nearly 80 years. There can be no doubt at all that Elmdon Air Terminal was built to serve the needs of the nascent civil aviation sector. If you want to see want the excitement of flight distilled into built form, then look no further.

It opened in 1939, one of a rash of air terminals which were completed during the late 1930s. It…

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