Giorgio Cappozzo
Robert Gschwantner
The Reflected Hexagon

0918_Tegel_Layout_final-proof.jpg

Snow crystals, consisting of

water and generated in the air,

form simple hexagonal prisms

at low temperatures. Water

and air can be described as

metaphors for the ancient

harbour Portus near Rome

and Tegel Airport in Berlin.

Snow crystals, Portus and

Tegel have one thing in common

– their hexagonal shape.

With the advent of jet aircraft,

which needed a longer

takeoff and landing strip, the

construction of a new airport

was needed in West Berlin. 

In 1974 Tegel Airport with

its hexagonal terminal was

inaugurated.

Hardly anything today suggests

that the hexagonal

Lago di Trajano located to the

west of Rome is an artificial

harbour. Ostia was situated

on a narrow river bed. With

the growing number of ships a

bigger harbour was needed. In

112 CE Rome’s new harbour

at Portus had been completed

and could take up to 200

large galleys. The warehouses 

of Portus were built around

the hexagonal basin and are

comparable to the terminal at

Tegel. Similar to airport gates,

numbered columns at the

wharf marked where the ships

were to be moored. 

The video shows the contrast between

an in-service, modern airport

and the ancient ruins amidst

wild nature.

Both places are not only

connected by their function

as international gateways to

metropolises in different eras,

they also share a very distinct

shape that can be looked

upon as a logistical ideal for

processing great numbers of

travellers.