In an article for Reading Design, Norman Foster—a passionate aeronaut—describes how the groundbreaking design of the Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet," the iconic airplane envisioned by engineer Joseph "Joe" Sutter in the 1960s, remains timeless. Likening both its method of construction and means of operation to that of a typical building, Foster asserts that it speaks of "the international hotel style," which he supposes as appropriate: "people come and go, it does not have a great deal of character and it could be almost anywhere."
There is, I believe, a common misconception about architecture and design – the belief that if the forces of nature are allowed to create form then that form will be automatically beautiful (the "if it looks right it is right" sort of argument). Personally, I think this is nonsense. There is no doubt that an aircraft is an extreme example, but I cannot believe mere aerodynamics gave this piece of industrial architecture its heroic outer form.
Read the article in full, here.