Posts tagged with "Airports":

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SOM’s $1 billion Kansas City airport set to soar after vote

Voters in Kansas City overwhelmingly approved a new $1 billion plan on Tuesday to transform the Kansas City International Airport (KCI). Passed by a 75-to-25 margin, work now begins on tearing down the existing three terminals and consolidating the airport into one building. Leading up to the vote, Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate had been tapped by Kansas City officials to develop the airport, with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designing. Opened in 1972, the clover-shaped KSI was almost immediately made obsolete in the same year by the passage of new airport security requirements. The horseshoe arrangement allows passengers to easily get from the street to the gate, but also precludes the rigorous security checkpoints that modern airports require. Public opinion over the terminals has been sharply divided ever since the installation of an unwieldy glass wall between the ticketing and boarding area, required by the FAA after a hijacking attempt. SOM’s proposal for the airport has tried to keep the same level of convenience that Kansas City residents are used to. Their H-shaped terminal will have two concourses and accommodate 35 gates, and the arrivals and departure area has been split across different levels while still retaining curbside service. An improved arrangement of dining and retail options has been added as well, especially important as the project will be funded in part by concessions sales. Most striking is the firm's attempt to bring natural light into the concrete-topped concourse. Floor-to-ceiling windows and an undulating roof structure that references rolling hills is split up with even more glass that will give passengers uninterrupted views. Besides adding parking and expanding the size of security areas to avoid a passenger backlog, SOM has also included a series of two-story-tall fountains capable of having messages projected into them, reminiscent of Safdie Architect’s Water Vortex in Singapore’s Changi Airport. However, the project may be still tenuous despite the project’s 2021 completion goal. Edgemoor had been selected by the city after promising to pay for the project by taking on private debt without burdening taxpayers, but this also exposes them to bearing any cost overruns down the line. The firm now has to complete a detailed construction agreement with the city or the project will be handed off to AECOM. The airport vote follows a riverfront master plan unveiled in July, and it looks like new development in Kansas City won’t slow down anytime soon. The full terminal master plan and set of site studies can be found here.
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Portland International Airport plans $1.3 billion overhaul

Portland International Airport (PDX), stretched to its limits and lacking enough space for security operations, is planning a massive $1.3 billion renovation as reported by The Oregonian

The planned five-year project, if approved by the airlines that operate at the airport, will be the first major overhaul of the terminal since its construction in 1956. The realities of post-9/11 travel—TSA checks, body scanners, endless lines—have been difficult to incorporate into a terminal that was not designed for such needs.

Another issue that PDX—if not all airports—faces is as the tourism industry grows, capacity becomes a concern. Portland, in particular, has been seeing a record-setting amount of visitors over the past years, and the airport is struggling to keep up. 

"We have made do with what we could until now," said Curtis Robinhold, executive director of the Port of Portland, to the Oregonian. "We're simply running out of capacity to manage the passenger flow we're getting today, and that we'll be getting in the days to come." 

The redesign of the terminal will minimize the mixing of arriving and departing passengers to improve circulation, as well as create more open space in the pre-security area. The plan estimates that the airport’s upgrades will be able to accommodate 35 million travelers annually, which is almost double the number of travelers from last year.

Other improvements include implementing structural upgrades to make the building earthquake-resilient and replacing the roof and aging electrical and plumbing systems. A $265 million parking garage expansion is also expected to begin in 2018.

Port of Portland officials are working with the airline carriers, who will be the ones financing the project, to create an acceptable plan. It will be voted on in the fall, and if approved, construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 and completed in stages.

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Major landscape design competition announced for Philadelphia International Airport

An airport is the gateway to any city: It’s the first—and last—thing a visitor sees. In a push to establish Philadelphia as America’s ‘Garden Capital,’ the Philadelphia International Airport is launching a landscape design competition to transform the airport into an icon of the city. The airport is collaborating with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) for the competition. With 130 acres of natural and planted lands that surround the airport as a canvas, it’s an opportunity to re-image the transportation hub. “The experience of any city’s airport sets the tone for the traveler; the landscape around the airport plays a vital role in setting that tone,” according to the PHS website. The goal of the competition is to place Philadelphia’s airport at the forefront, creating an iconic, “Image Maker” airport that will leave lasting impressions on travelers arriving and departing the city. The design should also consider sustainability and resiliency as an objective. The competition will launch on June 8, when the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will be distributed. Responses for the RFQ are due by July 21, 2017. From there, four finalists will be selected by a jury. Each finalist will receive a $20,000 stipend to develop a budget and a “thoughtful, creative, environmentally appropriate concept plan,” according to PHS. The concept plan should also provide details for the airport to seek funding for design development and phased construction implementation. Further details and the full application can be found over at PHS’s website.
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Fly-through animation reveals Memphis International Airport remodel

New animations and renderings have been released for the multi-phase modernization of the Memphis International Airport (MEM). The new images focus on revitalizing the airport's B Concourse, where eventually all airlines, retail, and food businesses will be consolidated. The initial plans for renovation, which were initiated in 2014, called for the partial modernization and reuse of the existing B Concourse. The latest involves a nearly complete redesign of the entire wing of the airport. A handful of amenities will be added to the concourse, including wider corridors, moving walkways, enlarged and updated boarding areas, and higher ceilings with more natural light. The modernization will also include a much-needed seismic update. The overhaul of the airport also involves altering and removing sections of the A and C concourses to allow for easier aircraft access to the B Concourse. “This is a lengthy, complex process, and it’s crucial that we do it right in order to deliver the best possible airport experience for Memphis travelers,” said Pace Cooper, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Board of Commissioners in a press release. “We’ve made progress thus far, and more significant changes are on the horizon. These changes are all part of a project that will result in a modern, convenient, state-of-the-art airport for our passengers, airlines, concessionaires, and other partners.” The announcement also included the expansion of the project to a handful of related projects around the airport, including jet bridge construction and electrical upgrades to other concourses to facilitate additional airline operations. The $214 million project is being realized without tapping local public tax funds, though much of the project will be funded by state and federal grants. The remainder of the funding will come from the airport's operating budget and the issuance of revenue bonds. Once complete, most airport operations in the A and C Concourses will be slowly moved into the newly renovated B Concourse. Construction is expected to begin by early 2018 and continue through early 2021. By mid-2021, consolidation will be complete and the end portion of the C Concourse will be removed. The video below flies through the future new and improved B Concourse.
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Verner Panton–inspired playground coming to Fort Lauderdale airport

This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.

Work on a $295 million modernization plan for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Terminal 1 by multiservice firm Gresham, Smith and Partners is nearly complete. The refresh, part of a slate of upgrades that will transform the regional airport into an international and domestic hub, will also host a 2,000-square-foot art installation and playground designed by architect Volkan Alkanoglu.

Alkanoglu’s Cloud Scape, commissioned by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners’ Cultural Division and located along a mezzanine level adjacent to one of the terminal’s busy ambulatories, is “inspired by the idea of aviation and literally translates it into a physical environment at the terminal” Alkanoglu explained. The playscape—made up of four discrete structures arranged linearly in a sky-blue-painted room—evokes the larger-than-life cumulus clouds one sees from an airborne plane and is, according to the architect, partially inspired by 1970s visionary designer Verner Panton’s Visona 2 installation, a “fantasy landscape” made up of a series of extruded, occupiable shapes.

Functionally, the caricatured shapes are designed to facilitate movement and play: They feature slides, portholes, and climbable surfaces all scaled to tot dimensions. The structures are for “playing in the clouds,” the designer explained. “Before you take off or after you land, you have the ability to immerse into this landscape of clouds.” Each is also designed to facilitate a different type of diversion. One takes the shape of a large donut, with a bubbly hole cut out of its center. Another is deconstructed, with each of the three constituent cloud profiles separated out to create a sitting shelf, another donut-hole-penetrated mass, and a small slide. The third is made up of cloud-shaped wedges that come together in a tight corner. And the fourth structure is more solid, with supple climbing surfaces, a rounded-step ramp, and another tunnel.

Of particular concern for Alkanoglu were the strict fire- and life-safety codes the project had to meet due to its airport setting and the fragile nature of its fledgling users. The structures are built out of Fire 1–rated Medite, a type of medium-density fiberboard, painted in white automotive paint and finished in clear polyurethane. Regulations by the National Recreation and Park Association also played a role in the design, dictating the spacing—six feet—between the structures as well as the detailing for various edge and corner conditions. Everything sits atop light- and dark-blue colored rubber flooring.

The project, currently in the permitting stages, will be fabricated by Indianapolis-based Ignition Arts and is expected to be complete May 2017.

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Corgan and Gensler adding new international concourse at LAX

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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Reagan National Airport gets $1 billion revamp on its 75th anniversary

Last month, Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. celebrated 75 years of operation. During its tenure, the airport has witnessed an unprecedented surge in passengers. Serving more than 23 million passengers last year, National has arguably surpassed even President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vision for it when he watched its first arrival, an American Airlines DC-3, touchdown in 1941. Now plans courtesy of AIR Alliance, a joint venture between engineering firm AECOM and Houston-based PGAL, are set to replace Gate 35X with a new building that will ease passenger congestion. Known for its pedigree in the typology, PGAL is also working on Newark Liberty, Fort Lauderdale, and Los Angeles international airports. Financed by the airlines, the scheme is set to total $1 billion and will increase the airport’s square footage by about five percent. For some time now, National has been a headache for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). Currently, Dulles International Airport sees fewer flyers pass through its gates, yet is 14 times larger than National. Additionally, Dulles is located more than 25 miles from D.C., whereas National is only approximately five miles away and a mere 30 minutes via public transport. “The project is focused on improving the customer experience at Reagan National Airport,” said Chris Paolino of MWAA. “We aren’t increasing any airfield capacity—there will be no new flights—but the project will better accommodate the record growth in passengers we have already had.” The way the notorious Gate 35X is set up, passengers saddled with flights out of there have to take a shuttle bus and brave the conditions when climbing up outdoor stairs to board aircraft. Paolino said that the new concourse will operate like a “traditional gate” where passengers can finally find shelter from the elements. The security checkpoint location is another aspect slated for an overhaul. “At this point, the plan is for the security checkpoints to be located near the end of the walkways from the garages and metro station, which will shift the large expanse of shopping and dining locations that had been pre-security to post-security,” Paolino said. “We will also be shifting the security checkpoints from the base of each gate area in the B/C Terminal to more centralized locations. This will allow for better flow of passengers between gate areas and ease crowding in the gate areas, especially during irregular operations, such as winter weather, where flight delays compound the problem.” Presently, connecting passengers must go through security twice (coming out and then back in) or take a bus to get from one gate to another. Despite being in the pipeline since 2014, renderings have only just begun to be leaked. Work is due to start this fall, and Paolino said passengers will begin to see more evidence of the construction next spring. Heading up the construction is New York–based Turner Construction Company. Completion is slated for 2024.
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Denver’s airport additions aims high, but the city needs more than one-off showcase projects

On April 22, the city of Denver inaugurated the Denver International Airport Transit Center, a commuter rail terminal that anchors the previously completed Westin hotel. The transit center provides Denver with a key piece of infrastructure (not to mention a signifier of ambition and status) while finally completing a plan that was over 20 years in the making.

In the transit center and associated hotel, Gensler’s steady hand has provided Denver with a handsome, if unexceptional, addition to the airport. Few designs, including Calatrava’s original proposal, could match the tectonic celebration that is the original Fentress Architects–designed terminal. However, Gensler carefully crafted a piece of architecture that is deferential to the unique and timelessly beautiful structure, while humbly presenting its own attractive qualities. From the catenary swoop of the Westin roof to the well-executed structural canopies interpenetrating it, this is a project that aspires to deliver great design in spite of the city’s traditionally conservative approach to architecture.

The transit center suffers from a common problem in Denver projects: an uneven approach to landscape. Denver-based landscape architects Valerian and studioINSITE provided a variety of landscaped spaces, but it seems that only those that are inaccessible and visible from afar are attractive. The crux of the project—the plaza between the new hotel and the existing terminal hall through which passengers pass when moving from the train station to the airport terminal—is a drab beige and lifeless expanse of brick pavers and an insult to the original terminal and the aspirations of this new addition.

 

 

A major component was the procurement of a wide variety of public art and its integration with the architectural and landscape design. In most cases, such as Patrick Marold’s Shadow Array, it supplements the design in a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing way. In the grand public plaza, however, Ned Kahn’s kinetic artwork only adds to the lifeless melancholia, making the traveler wish for a patch of swaying greenery, which, ironically, Kahn’s piece is supposed to evoke.

Denver’s new train line is anchored by exceptional architecture on both ends (SOM’s canopy at Union Station is a symphony of structure and simplicity), as well as generally impressive pieces of monumental public art at every station. Yet the project is being used to justify and support the unsustainable suburban sprawl slowly creeping eastward. The city has focused on the financial impact of additional airport hotels and conference centers being developed at the Peña Boulevard station, but one must wonder what value they add to Denver’s culture and what environmental and social debt we have incurred by supporting their construction. Not all commuters and visitors will use transit, and the burdens of commuting weigh unevenly on the most marginalized and financially strained citizens among us.

If the city does intend to stitch together the thirty mile gap between central Denver and the airport with new development, we should aim higher than lifeless beige boxes surrounded by parking lots in spite of the transit line just feet away. Conversely, while central Denver’s Union Station and the adjacent train canopy provide viable anchors for downtown revitalization, they are hemmed in and overpowered by ramparts of beige stucco and cement siding. Marketing materials for both the transit center and Union Station have championed the economic impact of the development they will spur, which is no doubt important, but architecture aspires to be measured by more than function and economic effect.

Just as the design of this new hotel and transit center ignores the spaces that knit the project together with the past, so has Denver ignored the workaday spaces that compose the majority of the city. City government (and, by extension, the voters) seem to believe that no matter how dismal the majority of urban infill is (or how unsustainable development in an empty field is), they can drop a Libeskind, Graves, or Calatrava in the middle of it and somehow lend Denver the cultural and aesthetic capital they feel it should have. The overlooked projects that make up the urban fabric have been so thoroughly neglected—in form and execution and analysis and criticism—that the city lacks the cultural vocabulary necessary to articulate what is off about its built environment. Like many American cities, Denver is struggling with its low zoning density, huge numbers of cars, uncultivated aesthetic standards, and particularly oppressive height restrictions. Projects like Denver International Airport’s Hotel and Transit Center (and the larger FasTracks regional transit initiative) are but the germ of a solution.

One attractive project alone cannot chart a new course for architectural and urban design in the city. Denver is blessed with many of the ingredients necessary for a sophisticated and expressive regional modernism to flourish: a native population that cherishes the city, a steady stream of immigrants, a strong environmental consciousness, plentiful local materials, robust building trades, advanced manufacturing and fabrication, and a unique climate. What the city requires is an elevated discourse around architecture and urbanism that goes beyond a limited number of showcase projects and is fostered by the same degree of cultural investment and education that Denver has put into its public art program and economic development initiatives—the results of which speak for themselves.

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London Mayor Refloats Foster’s Thames Transport Hub

With a new report, London Mayor and Conservative MP Boris Johnson has re-pitched his Thames Estuary Transport Hub, dubbed “Boris Island” by some, as an alternative to additional runways at Gatwick and Heathrow Airports. The project is in a similar vein to the Riker's Island La Guardia airport expansion proposed by Jim Venturi.

The proposal, initially launched in 2013, was masterplanned by Norman Foster. With other major infrastructure projects like High Speed Two (new high-speed rail lines that would link London to cities as far as Leeds) and CrossRail already in the pipeline, “Boris Island” has never been a fit for UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s austerity government.

In 2014, the Airports Commission ditched the scheme due to its high capital costs. Two years later the idea has resurfaced, along with the Mayor’s newfound political clout as he defies his incumbent party leader David Cameron in backing an E.U. exit

The plan promises rail, sea, aircraft, communication and power infrastructure amalgamated into one hub on the Thames estuary in Kent by the medway. New flight paths into the capital would also mean much less noise pollution, something that already plagues areas adjacent to the two-runway Heathrow airport. Additionally, Foster cites how every three months, a plane low on fuel or with an engine failure flies over London, a risk this plan would alleviate. A proposed rail network would also run around the capital, instead of through it, to reach the airport island and Europe beyond. This, in Foster’s eyes, would bridge the UK's North/South divide and create more trade with the European continent. This rail network would also link up to the existing and under-construction High Speed 2 and CrossRail network.

Also part of the plan would be a new hydroelectric facility in the Thames that would power the hub. With an existing barrier already in action downstream, two miles east of the Isle of Dogs, this new construction would further protect against rising sea levels.

Foster + Partners does have a good track record in delivering similar schemes. Both Beijing's airport—the biggest airport in the world—and Hong Kong's airports were delivered on time and on budget by the firm. They were also voted by travelers as “the best airport experiences in the world.

In his report Landing The Right Airport, Mayor Johnson states that Foster’s hub is the only way to secure enough capacity. "Our analysis predicts that they would offer around double the number of long haul and domestic destinations served by Heathrow today, while exposing 95% fewer people to significant aircraft noise,” he says.

According to the BBC, Daniel Moylan, aviation adviser to the Mayor, says the plan could cost up to $35 billion—with an extra $35 billion needed for road and rail connections. A third runway could cost $28 billion.

However, opponents argue the transport hub would cost significantly more, at around $130 billion. Not only that, it would also disrupt wildlife habitats as well as rendering Southend and London City airports obsolete.  Meanwhile travel time into central London would also be longer compared to Heathrow.

Johnson though, remains undeterred. "If we are to secure the connectivity we need to support our future growth and prosperity and do so without dire impacts on public health—then we must do better than Heathrow,” he concluded.

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How about expanding LaGuardia Airport onto Rikers Island?

[beforeafter]rebuild-laguardia-07 rebuild-laguardia-08[/beforeafter]   (Renderings courtesy RethinkNYC, Cezar Nicolescu, and Sigmund Lerner) The New York Times published an editorial on February 24 called "Imagining a Rikers Island With No Jail" that proposes various uses for the East River island if its prison were closed. “As for the island, it should be given back to the sea gulls," the editorial concludes, "or used for affordable housing, or an extension of LaGuardia Airport.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaQpLe89kA4 If fact, AN published an Op-Ed piece with James Venturi on July 15, 2015, that presents a convincing argument for repurposing Rikers Island as an extension to LaGuardia. We thought it was time to revisit Venturi’s plan and bring it back for public discussion. Read Venturi's full proposal here.
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Pininfarina and AECOM top Fuksas and Hadid to win Istanbul New Airport commission

Pininfarina and AECOM have won an international competition to design an Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower and technical building at the Istanbul New Airport. The team was selected from a competitive shortlist, which included Zaha Hadid, Fuksas, Moshe Safdie, Grimshaw-Nordic, and RMJM. “One of the World’s largest aviation projects, Istanbul New Airport’s air traffic control tower will be an iconic structure, visible to all passengers traveling through the airport," said İGA's chief executive officer, Yusuf Akçayoğlu, "We were looking for a striking design fit for a 21st century airport while remaining sensitive to Istanbul’s unique heritage." According to the design team, the tower's form was inspired by the tulip, a symbol of Istanbul's culture. This victory marks AECOM's first collaboration with Pininfarina, a firm recognized for designing cars for Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. "The collaboration combines the expertise of AECOM’s architectural and engineering teams with Pininfarina’s distinctive architectural style that epitomises speed and movement, influenced by automotive design," announced the design team. The Istanbul New Airport is expected to have the largest, annual, passenger capacity in the world, accommodating 90 million passengers per year at the first stage and 200 million passengers per year by the final stage. According to the design team, İGA secured a $4.9 billion loan from a group of six banks in October to fund the first phase. The following stages will expand the airport to include six runways and three terminal buildings. AECOM and Pininfarina's design will be approximately 22 miles from the city center, on the European side, adjacent to the Black Sea.
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Oklahoma’s Will Rogers World Airport to get a new wing by FSB and HOK

The Oklahoma Airport Trust has approved the schematic designs for a new terminal expansion at Will Rogers World Airport. The design team, lead by Oklahoma City–based Frankfurt-Short-Bruza Associates (FSB), with partners Hellmuth Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), have integrated the latest in airport security, technology, and circulation into their brightly daylit plan. The addition will include a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) consolidated security checkpoint, allowing for more pre- and post-security space for the growing airport. With passengers exceedingly using their smartphones to check-in, the new security checkpoint is specifically designed with the changing nature of technology enabled travel in mind. Passengers will also have more viewing opportunities of the concourse, tarmac, and runways with a new observation gallery and suspended viewing deck. The terminal includes expansive windows as well as skylights throughout to fill the space with daylight. New shopping and dining options will also be integrated along with various seating and resting areas. One of the major goals of the expansion is to allow for more airlines to offer services to Oklahoma City as well as expand the capacity of existing carriers. To do so the new terminal will include four new gates, with the ability to add six more in the future. Regional Leader of HOK’s Aviation + Transportation practice, Will Jenkinson, commented on the ambitions of the project. “The Design will enable the airport to attract new airlines and reintroduce international travel, expanding its destinations and placing Oklahoma City on the map of the world’s top airports.”