THE LEADER IN AIRPORT ARCHITECTURE
52 Million Square Feet, $16 Billion Designed by the Same Aviation Team
Fentress Architects is guided by the humanistic ideals that a building must work well for its users as well as speak of and to its culture and community. Given our humanistic mission, it is natural for Fentress Architects to excel in airport architecture where complex and often large-scale programs are driven by economic and civic objectives.
Over the past four decades, Fentress Architects has participated in the extraordinary transformation within the aviation industry. We are humbled to bring our experience, skill and knowledge to benefit communities around the world. We are inspired by cities and administrators who take risks to bring fresh, new, and necessary plans to fruition. We are passionate about the regions of the world where we have immersed ourselves in local culture and geography in order to create facilities that speak to and for their community. — Thom Walsh, AIA, Principal and Director of Airports
More than 490 million passengers make their way through Fentress Architects-designed airports each year. In doing so, these passengers experience technological innovations and pragmatic solutions including:
- The roof at Denver International Airport’s (DEN) Passenger Terminal Complex is a simple, yet unprecedented, design solution employs the relatively nascent technology of Teflon-coated fiberglass tensile-membrane roofing. The challenge with this technology was that the building’s mechanical infrastructure had to be relocated from the roof—which was traditional building practice—to underground. By accomplishing this relocation, the design team was able to not only create an iconic building for Denver, but also reduce cost by eliminating the need for over 300 tons of steel and 200,000 linear feet of concrete shear wall.
- The first fully-integrated, multi-feature media environment in the world at Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Bradley International Terminal. This Integrated Environmental Media System (IEMS) consists of seven architecturally-scaled and integrated media features, each of which enhances the passenger’s departure and arrival experience. Content celebrates the joy and romance of travel and highlights Los Angeles as the global premier center for arts, technology and creativity. Beyond establishing a sense of place and providing an unprecedented passenger experience, this system also creates a new source of non-airline revenue and is the first deployment of corporate sponsorships in a US airport.
Fentress Architects’ aviation projects have garnered over 90 awards including:
- Denver International Airport, #1 in The Best of the Biggest US Airports, The Wall Street Journal 2018
- Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program at Charleston International Airport (CHS), American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2018
- Incheon International Airport (ICN), Best Airport Worldwide, Airports Council 2006 – 2017
- Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) South Terminal C, American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2017
- Raleigh-Durham International Airport Terminal 2, Award of Excellence, AIA Colorado 2016
- LAX Bradley International Terminal, International Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2016
- Renovation and Expansion of Terminal A at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), Excellence Award, Design Build Institute of America (National) 2011
Fentress Architects is an expert in every aspect of airport architecture with a breadth of experience that ranges from Seoul’s 5,935,000-square-foot (551,00-square meter) greenfield Incheon International Airport (ICN) to the 60,000-square-foot (5,575-square-meter) replacement Air Traffic Control Tower at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
We understand the myriad and multitude of drivers that require airport operators to undertake capital projects. One such driver is servicing specific aircraft types. For Denver International Airport’s (DEN) Concourse A Expansion, Seattle International Airport’s (SEA) RJ Terminal Facility and Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) South Terminal C we expanded regional jet operations. Similarly, Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Bradley International Terminal, Inchecon International Airport (ICN) and Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s (RDU) Terminal 2 were all designed with the goal of accommodating super jumbo jets, which impact every aspect of an airport from baggage handling to security queues, hold rooms, jet bridge requirements and FIS facilities. In fact, we undertake a prudent approach to all programming and planning efforts such that every finished space is designed to readily adapt as future needs require.
While the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program at Charleston International Airport (CHS), Central Terminal at Sacramento International Airport (SMF), and South Terminal C, Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) are vastly different from one another in size and scope, all three are exceptional examples of airport spaces designed to elevate the passenger experience and improve customer service. In fact, these are near-universal drivers for all of our airport projects. Passengers desire a streamlined, expedited experience. They want their needs to be anticipated and solutions delivered at every stage of their journey. These solutions often include well-placed concessions and premium airline lounges, which offer the additional benefit of revenue generation to operators and airlines.
The main terminal at Denver [International Airport] is one of the few airports in the United States that confers a sense of lift, where natural light and appealing form combine to create a civic monumentality. Fentress… [has] managed to wrest out of the nearly impossible functional demands of the airport program a genuine piece of architecture. — Paul Goldberger, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and former architecture critic for The New Yorker
Customers—passengers and airline employees alike—value abundant daylighting, natural vegetation and comfortable seating. In fact, much of what makes an airport uplift the human spirit also enhances environmental sustainability. Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the Air Traffic Control Tower at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and Alaska Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) have all been LEED-certified Gold by the US Green Building Council.
With global passenger traffic increasing by an average of over six percent annually, another near-universal driver for capital projects is increased passenger loads up to and beyond capacity. While serving as an impetus for improvement, elevated passenger loads also complicate renovation and replacement projects. The renovation and expansion of Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s (RDU) Terminal 2 and Renovation and Expansion of Terminal A at San Jose International Airport (SJC) involved especially complex and carefully-coordinated phasing schedules to reduce the impact to airlines and passengers during construction and maintain continuous operations.
In fact, Terminal A at SJC was only one element of the Modernization of Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), which also included a new Terminal B, a consolidated rental car garage, surface parking and roadway improvements. Of note, this was the largest airport project in the United States delivered using the design-build method. Airport operators chose design-build as a means to reduce the project budget and schedule from $4.5 billion completed within 12 years to $1.3 billion within four years. Halfway through construction, Bill Sherry, then-director of SJC, explained that the benefits were even better than expected, “the success of the program can be summed up this way: When we started the program, we were $150 million out of budget. We are now [mid-construction] tracking about $140 million under budget.”
Learn more about our aviation capabilities, contact:
Thomas J. Walsh, Director of Aviation Planning
11 Selected projects
Sacramento International Airport
Incheon International Airport
Mineta San Jose International Airport
Bradley Terminal at LAX
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Charleston International Airport
Orlando International Airport
San Francisco International Airport Control Tower
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
Denver International Airport