Heritage Buildings: Dublin Airport Old Terminal

When completed in 1941 the Terminal at Dublin Airport was Ireland’s first truly modernist building.

View of the old terminal at Dublin Airport. Image by the Edwardmcwilliams.

Following the establishment of Aer Lingus in 1936, which originally operated from the military airfield at Baldonnell, Co. Dublin, work began in 1937 on a new civilian airport at Collinstown north of Dublin City. The new airport hosted its first flight in January 1940 and shortly after that work began on the airport terminal building which was completed in 1941. The terminal was to be in the international modern style and was designed by the architect Desmond FitzGerald of the Office of Public Works.

The design was intended to make a break with the past to design a building suited to its activities and was influenced by the ideas of Le Corbusier. The building is light and airy with an observation and cafe deck. The four-storey building has rows of horizontal windows, terraces on cantilevers and promenades on the western side that overlooks the airfield. The decks and control tower are reminiscent of a ship and its bridge. The building was also designed as a convex curve and when looked at from above the curving wings combined with the long and narrow landscaped approach take the form of a plane. The terminal was awarded the Triennial Gold Medal of the Royal Hibernian Institute of Architects.

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