INDIANAPOLIS—Robert Chicas is old enough to remember when air travel was glamorous. Born and raised in New York, he flew PanAm with his parents every summer to visit family in Central America, via Miami. Everyone dressed up; he and his brothers wore ties, and the flight attendants wore gloves. Airports, he says, were all about the destination: they celebrated one's arrival in a place.
Nowadays, flying has more in common with mass transit. "It's like riding the bus," Chicas told me recently, with a wry note in his voice. But that might be changing. Chicas is an architect for HOK, a global design firm with 23 offices around the world, and co-leads the company's aviation and transportation practice from New York. He was project manager for the Indianapolis International Airport Colonel H. Weir Cook Terminal, which opened to acclaim in 2008.*