Posts tagged with "Airports":

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Foster + Partners’ Mexico City airport scrapped by public referendum

Mexico City’s new Foster + Partners–designed airport has been canceled while already under construction. In a referendum today voters rejected the partially completed project that’s been beleaguered by accusations of corruption, ecological irresponsibility, and lack of community involvement. The referendum was originally proposed by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president-elect of Mexico, as popular opposition grew against the project that was approved by President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2014. Not only was the project, called NAICM (Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México), deemed inordinately expensive at an estimated USD$13 billion, its location was less than ideal. The wetland plain of Texcoco outside the city that it was to be built on is quite literally sinking—as much as 16 inches a year. Not only does building the airport require thick supports, like much of Mexico City, which was built on former lakes dredged by the colonizing Spaniards five centuries ago, but it the area accommodates stormwater runoff for the city, requiring a complicated and expensive system of plumbing, tunnels, and canals to manage potential flooding. Furthering the environmental infeasibility is the impact it would have had on numerous bird species as well as its effect of exacerbating the decline of the city’s already dwindling water supplies. As Fernando Córdova, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico told Alto Nivel as later reported in translation in Citylab: “It’s just the worst terrain.” USD$5 billion has already been put into the airport, which was designed to handle the ever-increasing traffic through North America’s most populous city, which also serves as a travel hub for much of the rest of Mexico and Latin America. The mega-project, which would’ve been the third largest airport in the world and the most expansive in all of the Americas, was noteworthy for its six million square-foot main terminal designed in a sci-fi X-shape with a sweeping canopy. The no vote won by a large margin, with 70 percent voting in opposition of completing the project, though, as others have noted, voter turnout for the referendum was underwhelming, with only around 1 in 90 registered voters turning out to the polls. Those opposed argued that the project was being built and developed by contractors and other parties as a series of political favors to line each other’s pockets. Still, regardless of the fate of NAICM, Mexico City needs a new airport. The current main airport, Benito Juárez International, is operating 50 percent over capacity and the strain on it is only growing. López Obrador and others have supported a significantly cheaper project that uses existing infrastructure by converting part of the Santa Lucía air force base into a commercial terminal. As for the thwarted Foster + Projects design, it was reported in The Washington Post that López Obrador suggested turning the remains of the unfinished airport into “a big sports and ecological center for Mexico City.”
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Top design firms are vying for Chicago O’Hare expansion project

Twelve firms are in the running to design a massive expansion to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Last week, teams from Santiago Calatrava, SOM, Bjarke Ingels Group, and more submitted their qualifications ahead of the city’s Thursday deadline to secure a bid, according to The Chicago Tribune. The $8.7-billion addition, known at O’Hare 21, will replace Terminal 2 with a global terminal and concourse that will cater to domestic and international flights from United and American Airlines. Two additional satellite concourses will be built out during construction as well. The top two firms chosen after an extensive review process by the Department of Aviation will be awarded design contracts for the new global terminal and satellite concourses respectively. O’Hare 21 is the airport’s first major architectural undertaking in 25 years and will expand its total terminal area from 5.5 million to 8.9 million square feet. The chance to design a gateway project for an airport of this size is a huge win for any firm. Many of the studios that submitted proposals already have both large-scale and small-scale airport projects on their resume: Calatrava (Bilbao), Fentress Architects (Denver), Studio Fuksas (Shenzhen), and SOM (Mumbai, Singapore). O’Hare’s own Terminal 1 was designed in 1986 by Jahn, which has also entered the race. Other high-wattage firms are forming joint ventures with local architects to win the competition. Foster + Partners is working with JGMA and Epstein, while Rafael Viñoly Architects is teaming up with Goettsch Partners. Studio Gang has an even larger team under its belt that includes STL Architects and Solomon Cordwell Buenz. Global firms HOK and Gensler are also in the mix, running on their own. According to the Tribune, securing the architects to design the O’Hare expansion is a critical job Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes to have done before leaving office in May. The city expects to finish the multi-phase project by 2026.
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Kansas City International Airport tones down design in new renderings

Progress on the $1.3-billion Kansas City International Airport (KCI) is moving along after delays and a brief developer kerfuffle in December that saw AECOM attempt to win the project back from the Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate/SOM team. After soliciting community feedback, the SOM-led design team has released another round of renderings and revealed a more subdued version of the curvy terminal buildings seen previously. Voters initially approved the $1 billion replacement of the aging KCI last November. The clover-shaped airport originally opened in 1972, and its three drive-up, horseshoe-shaped terminals were rendered difficult to navigate following the release of new airport security requirements the same year. SOM’s H-shaped airport will consolidate all three terminals into a single building while keeping the curbside access that Missourians are used to. The original renderings, revealed after Edgemoor and SOM had secured the project, depicted a light, glassy building with a rippling roof and sail-like fins. In the updated designs, the roof has been smoothed out and flattened, a two-story fountain originally located in the departure and arrivals area has been removed, and a 4,500-square-foot lounge for frequent fliers has been added. Instead of the indoor fountain in the check-in area, which SOM removed to speed up arrivals, an outdoor water feature has been proposed for the area in front of the parking garage. A centralized “cul-de-sac” with retail and dining options along with a round performance space has also been replaced with a more rectangular "town square," which will feature local businesses and a teardrop-shaped performing area. The number of bathrooms will more than double, from the current 63 to 130, and SOM has used community feedback to design wide, accessible bathrooms for those traveling with baggage. Seven more community meetings have been scheduled for this September as Edgemoor continues to solicit stakeholder feedback. Demolition of KCI’s Terminal A is currently on hold while the Federal Aviation Administration conducts its environmental assessment, which should be complete sometime in September or October. The airport has already pushed its opening back from November 2021 to fall 2022 as the number of gates has risen from 35 to 39­­—the KCI currently has 31 gates in operation. While no budget has officially been set yet, the cost estimate has risen from $1 billion to $1.3–$1.4 billion, with the airlines pledging to pay for any additional costs.
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Foster + Partners’ Mexico City airport could be cancelled by referendum

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president-elect of Mexico, recently announced that the fate of the new Mexico City airport designed by Foster + Partners will be decided by a public referendum to be held in October of this year. Mexican citizens will be able to decide in a vote whether or not the airport should be canceled. López Obrador, or AMLO as he is also known, led a fiery campaign for president. He trumpeted leftist and populists messages while attacking corruption that he said was endemic in the Mexican government. The New Mexico City International Airport (NAICM) was, he said, mismanaged and marked by excessive and wasteful spending, and he promised to shut down the project if elected. López Obrador has proposed that an existing military airbase be converted to civilian use instead of completing construction on the new airport. The vote is scheduled for the last week of October even though López Obrador will not formally take office until December 1 of this year. The project, which was won by Foster + Partners in 2014, is well under construction, and stopping it now would mean losing about US$5 billion already spent. The project is estimated to cost US$13 billion in total, and its first phase has been scheduled to open in 2020. Foster + Partners' design features a massive undulating canopy with an exposed space frame underneath. In renderings, the roof surface allows dappled light to come through large open spans between large footings where the canopy touches down to the ground. Arup is the project's structural engineer, Mexican firm fr-ee is the local collaborating architect, and Grupo de Diseno Urbano is the landscape architect. The airport is planned to handle 66 million passengers annually and cover an area of approximately eight million square feet.
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This Texas city is a window into the global logistics shadow world

If you fly into the Fort Worth Alliance Airport (AFW), it is likely that you are some kind of cargo. You might be arriving from any number of foreign points of origin and, upon touching down, you would then be transferred to a distribution center that would facilitate your delivery to an awaiting train car or tractor-trailer. While all of this is happening, you still have not yet officially entered the U.S., at least for import duty purposes. You’ve entered the Alliance Global Logistics Hub, notable because it is both original and exemplary. It remains categorically significant for its size and configuration: More than just an airport and intermodal distribution facility, Alliance is, in fact, a privately owned and managed master-planned community that includes housing developments, community centers, and other civic infrastructures. Alliance is also designated Foreign Trade Zone #196 and bills itself as the first exclusively industrial airport in the U.S. The Alliance Global Logistics Hub, as well as the larger community into which it is integrated, might be read as the product of a purer logistical vision. The hub's promotional material highlights the frictionless intermodal transfer of inventory from air to train or tractor trailer. Indeed, intermodality is the dream of the logistician—a world in which any misalignment or discontinuity has been anticipated and smoothed. It allows the material in transit to operate as information to be managed more than as material to be handled. This same impulse characterizes the ways in which Alliance explains its location: not in terms of relative distance, but in delivery times and access to populations. In two hours, an airplane can be in Chicago or Mexico City, and in 1,000 miles, a truck can be within reach of 153 million U.S. residents. Hillwood Properties, belonging to Ross Perot Jr., initiated Alliance, Texas, through a combination of well-timed land acquisitions and clever leveraging that anticipated both the growth of the region and the growth of the logistics sector. For example, as the Fort Worth airport’s capacity was at its limits, the Alliance Airport was there to absorb the extra traffic, but only in certain conditions that included future tax abatements and operating rights. This was the beginning of the partnership between Hillwood and the City of Fort Worth that, when manifested in urban form, can blur the distinctions between public and private investment and oversight. The irony that the scion of one of America’s most ardent protectionists would find his fortune through international logistics, transshipment hubs, and free trade regulations is not lost on the coverage of Alliance. Perot Jr. has signaled his willingness to “keep building big logistics parks for American firms supplying U.S. jobs.” The logistics hub is indeed the anchor of Alliance, both financially and in terms of employment. However, for all the emphasis on how the Alliance logistics hub can obviate boundaries, promotional literature for Alliance’s residential sectors emphasizes locality, belonging, and inclusiveness, citing its “integrated housing solutions,” entertainment, and employment support services. But neither does Alliance appear to be a monoculture, with a nearby mosque, temple, church, and even a replica of Stonehenge made with segments of oil pipelines.
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International competition for Chicago’s O’Hare expansion takes off

On the heels of the news that Elon Musk’s The Boring Company will dig a high-speed rail link from Chicago’s Loop to O’Hare International Airport, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has kicked off an international competition to design O’Hare’s massive expansion plan. The city has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to potential lead architectural designers—available here—for what Mayor Emanuel has coined O’Hare 21. All of the proposed work falls under O’Hare’s Terminal Area Plan (TAP), a sprawling plan to modernize the airport with a new global terminal (OGT), global concourse (OGC), and Satellite Concourses One and Two. The $8.7 billion expansion plan of O’Hare is the first in nearly 25 years and will increase the total terminal coverage from 5.5 million to 8.9 million square feet. To get there, O’Hare’s aging Terminal 2 will be torn down and replaced with the new “O’Hare Global Terminal,” an updated terminal that can handle larger international planes. Terminals 1 and 3 will undergo renovation, and Terminal 5 will be expanded. The resultant global terminal would house both international and domestic flights from United and American Airlines, the first terminal in the country to do so. Passengers flying out of O’Hare eight years from now will also be met with dozens of new gates and a streamlined security system. “This is an opportunity to write the next chapter in Chicago’s legacy of architectural ingenuity,” said Mayor Emanuel, according to the Chicago Sun Times, “while sharing the iconic architecture and design Chicago is famous for with visitors from across the country and around the world.” The Chicago City Council has already approved $4 billion in loans to get the project rolling, which will eventually be paid back through higher landing fees and terminal rents for United and American. Interested firms have until August 9 to apply, and the City of Chicago Department of Aviation’s evaluation committee will recommend teams for the shortlist. Those invited back will be given the opportunity to answer the Request for Proposal, as well as a $50,000 stipend.
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Cloud-inspired playscape opens at Fort Lauderdale airport

  Harvard Graduate School of Design–based architect Volkan Alkanoglu recently completed work on a new 2,000-square-foot cloud-inspired playscape installation at the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The playscape takes after Verner Panton’s Visiona 2 installation from 1970, also postulating an ethereal multi-sensory fantasy landscape, this one filled with pint-sized bubbly geometries and rounded nooks and crannies that can be occupied, climbed over, and enjoyed by traveling children of all ages. For the airport installation, Alkanoglu and his team naturally drew inspiration from the clouds—“fluffy, airy, white cushions [that] simply resemble a picturesque landscape,” according to a press release—that kids can see from the airplane cabin. Ultimately, Alkanoglu has designed an obstacle course from these “sublime formations,” a playscape that can be experienced safely on the ground while waiting to board a flight. The installation is made up of four cloud pods that contain integrated benches, a slide, and climbable stepped elements, among other features. The pods are constructed from ¾”-thick, Fire 1–rated Medite, a type of medium-density fiberboard, colored in white automotive paint and finished in clear polyurethane. The play areas sit atop a two-inch poured-in-place slab made of rubberized flooring material and are lit from above using recessed lighting from Louis Poulsen. The project was commissioned by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners’ Cultural Division and is located along a mezzanine level in Terminal 1 at FLL.
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LAX’s elevated rail moves forward with funding for three stations

The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has been on an expansion tear in recent years. Following the announcement of a rail connection from Los Angeles to the airport, an accompanying transit hub, and a super jumbo airplane-oriented concourse expansion, a $336 million contract has been awarded to build three new terminal cores for the airport’s forthcoming people mover. As part of the terminal extension plan, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the body responsible for overseeing LAX and the Van Nuys Airports, gave their final approval for a $336 million funding package on January 19th. That money will go to Dallas, Texas-based Austin Commercial Inc., who have a five-year design-build contract with LAWA to build out three new terminal cores for the Automated People Mover (APM), as well as the surrounding elevators, escalators and walkways. All three cores are shooting for LEED Silver Certification. The new Terminal Core Project will see the construction of two cores between the existing Terminals 5 and 6 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, and one at Terminal 7. According to LAWA, the three new cores will join another four being built privately, by American Airlines for Terminals 4 and 5, Delta Air Lines for Terminals 2 and 3, and Southwest Airlines for Terminal 1. Phase one of the Terminal Core Project will begin in the second half of 2018 and involve preliminary design. Construction will begin in phase two, which is expected to run from 2019 to 2021. The $2.7-billion people mover project is just one part of the greater $5.5-billion Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), a modernization initiative meant to improve connectivity across the LAX. Besides pushing guests around the airport in a loop, the people mover will eventually connect with the forthcoming Crenshaw and Green lines once the $600 million Airport Metro Connector 96th Street Station is complete. The people mover is expected to run every two minutes, all day every day, for free, and eventually hit six stations around the LAX. LAX is the fourth busiest airport in the world and second in the United States, and the upgrades are long overdue. Corgan and Gensler have teamed up to design the $1.6-billion concourse expansion, which will hold an additional 12 gates and an 85,000-square-foot baggage area when it’s finished. Once LAMP is complete in 2023, the LAX should seamlessly connect with the satellite gates and the city proper through mass transit.
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AECOM guns to take over SOM’s Kansas City airport project

After Kansas City, Missouri, residents overwhelmingly voted last month to replace the outdated Kansas City International Airport (KCI) with a $1 billion, SOM-designed consolidated terminal, talks between developer Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate and the Kansas City government appear to have broken down. After the city council refused Edgemoor’s memorandum of understanding, AECOM and Kansas City–based competitor Burns & McDonnell have announced that they’re teaming up to mount a counterproposal for the new KCI. Although the vote to build the new airport was held in November, the developer selection process dragged on earlier this summer as Edgemoor, AECOM and Burns & McDonnell all submitted proposals to Kansas City officials. While AECOM, submitting under the banner of KCI Partnership, and Burns & McDonnell had both submitted plans that included detailed funding frameworks for the project, Edgemoor kept their funding plans vague and didn’t release designs for the new airport until after they had been selected as the winner. The memorandum of understanding was supposed to finalize the specific details of the arrangement between Kansas City and Edgemoor, but councilmembers have said that Edgemoor’s funding plan is still too vague for the city’s liking. Other than a lack of community investment, Edgemoor’s agreement would have also included a $30 million payout to Edgemoor if the project fell through, a provision the council found unacceptable. Councilman Quinton Lucas told The Kansas City Star that the council was right to reject the memorandum. “There’s a reimbursement agreement that obligates the city to potentially millions of dollars, a number of those costs incurred before the election,” said Lucas. “There was absolutely no detail on financing. I know we want flexibility, but we also want to know what we are binding the city to, potentially for years to come.” Following the failure to pass the memorandum, a resolution will be discussed this week that, if passed, would drop Edgemoor as the new KCI developer and scrap SOM’s plans to streamline the airport. Capitalizing on the potential shakeup, Burns & McDonnell has joined AECOM as part of KCI Partnership, and the group is putting together an alternate plan that would invest millions into the surrounding community. An AECOM, Burns & McDonnell partnership might have seemed unfathomable during the earlier selection process. Karl Reichelt, a senior managing director at AECOM, accused the KCI selection committee of "moving the goalposts" and tilting the process towards Burns & McDonnell after the committee asked additional, post-proposal questions of the teams. While at the time AECOM viewed this as allowing the other groups to reconfigure their packages on the fly, Burns & McDonnell were eventually disqualified for their proposed funding framework.
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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.