Last month’s news that New York plans to entirely rebuild the famously decrepit La Guardia Airport by 2021 has travelers and architecture buffs wondering what the new facility will look like. If searching for inspiration, planners would do well to check out these six airports, all of which feature notable innovations.
Changi Airport, Singapore: Butterfly Garden
Singapore’s Changi Airport routinely tops "Best Airports in the World" lists for its incredible amenities: a free 24-hour movie theater, a swimming pool, an enormous indoor children’s slide, massage chair lounges and more. But Changi's outdoor spaces are perhaps the most innovative of its offerings. Most airports don’t allow travelers outside once they’ve cleared security, which can make long delays or layovers feel even longer. But Changi has several unique outdoor spaces within its terminals, including a rooftop cactus garden, a cheerful sunflower garden and various orchid displays (orchids are Singapore’s national flower). Our favorite is the butterfly garden. Visitors step into a fenced outdoor grotto, where some 1,000 butterflies flit from flower to flower, occasionally landing on a head or shoulder. If you’re lucky, you can even see one emerging from its chrysalis in a special “emergence enclosure.”