Architecture firms Corgan and Gensler, along with operator Los Angeles World Airports, broke ground yesterday on a new, 12 gate, $1.6 billion concourse expansion aimed at boosting the super-jumbo airplane handling capabilities at Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT).

The project, known at the Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) will connect to the existing and recently-expanded TBIT via a pair of underground tunnels, complete with three sets of moving sidewalks. One of the tunnels will be used by passengers exclusively while the second will be utilized by the airport for operational services.

Once traveling through the tunnel, passengers will emerge inside the new terminal, where the new gates—two of which are specially designed to accommodate the next generation Airbus 380 super jumbo and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jets—await. The expansion will include 50,000 square feet of gateway space, including 44,000 square feet of “L.A.-centric dining and shopping options,” according to a press release issued by Gensler. The new concourse will also feature 60,000 square feet of airline lounges, two nursing rooms, a service animal relief area, and children’s play areas that will be integrated into the spaces surrounding the boarding gates.

In addition to the leisure and waiting areas described above, the expansion includes the 85,000-square-foot Baggage Optimization Project that will add a new baggage handling facility to the airport. The new facility will include an 11,000-square-foot tunnel to along the north side of the structure as well as a 45,000 square foot tunnel along the eastern edge that will connect to the airport’s baggage conveyance systems.

The new concourse is designed to mimic the wave-inspired geometries of TBIT and features a linear collection of curved roof structures studded with clerestory lights. The spaces within the new concourse are designed to maximize daylighting as well as ease of movement through the waiting and leisure areas, with a special emphasis on maintaining sightlines between these spaces and the departure gates.

GKKWorks will act as associate architect on the project. The project is expected to be operational by 2019 and fully completed by 2020.

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