New International Arrivals Facility & Terminal Lobby Open at Nashville International Airport

Image by Andrew Keithly Photography

OVERVIEW

Nashville International Airport (BNA) welcomed a record 18.4 million passengers in 2022, besting the previous high by seven percent. Years of increasing passenger volume among both domestic and international travelers prompted by the creation of BNA Vision in 2017. BNA Vision comprises nine major building projects supporting a capacity of more than 23 million annual passengers.

“We’re thrilled to be creating exciting architecture for such a vibrant city, and at the same time also supporting the growing passenger volume and a great passenger experience at BNA,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA Principal in Charge of Design with design architect Fentress Architects.

Fentress Architects began working at BNA in 2017 on projects including:

  • Concourse D and Terminal Wings (opened July 2020)
  • Terminal Lobby (opened January 2023)
  • International Arrivals Facility (opened September 2023)
  • Concourse D Extension (2025) 

TERMINAL LOBBY with CANOPY, PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, & CENTRAL CORE

The new terminal lobby features a waved roof canopy that extends from the terminal garage to the International Arrivals Facility (IAF). This canopy provides coverage for roadway and curbside access to and from the terminal as well as a new pedestrian walkway bridge. The pedestrian bridge promotes efficient passenger traffic flow by connecting the central core with a garage plaza, administration building and future hotel. The central core vertically connects all five levels from the Transportation Center to the new pedestrian bridge.

INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS FACILITY

The new IAF opened at the end of September 2023.  Included with this project is a central concession marketplace located between the security screening checkpoint and the international gates. The marketplace optimizes services and amenities available to both international and domestic passengers.

The IAF includes:

  • Six international gates to meet the rising demand from Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
  • A bags-first approach with automated passport controls (APTs) to expedite throughput.
  • An international arrivals tunnel connecting directly to a meter greeter area and the ground transportation facilities.
  • Expanded and consolidated security screening checkpoints with additional lanes to minimize wait times and expedite the screening process.
  • Expanded space for future airline clubs.

CONCOURSE D & EXTENSION

Fentress Architects’ design of the 115,000-square-foot Concourse D opened in 2020 and yielded six new departure gates along with associated amenities and function space. Fentress Architects is currently working on an extension to Concourse D that will include five additional gates. This 160,000-square-foot extension also includes outdoor space that will afford departing and arriving passenger’s exceptional views of the airfield and a unique opportunity to go outside at BNA.  A circular node design at the end of the concourse extension symbolizes a classical record to celebrate Nashville’s deep musical history. 

SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability and comfort are paramount for all BNA projects undertaken by Fentress Architects. All facilities are designed to achieve a minimum of USGBC LEED Silver Certification. Electrochromic glass was utilized throughout in skylights, clerestories, and curtainwalls. This “smart” glass automatically and constantly adjusts to fluctuations in solar radiation to manage daylighting and energy use effectively and efficiently.

Building Design+Construction Ranks Fentress Architects Among Nation’s Top Architecture Firms

#5 Convention Centers + Conference Centers

#8 Airport Terminal

#10 Museums

Fentress Architects has ranked as one of the top architecture firms in Building Design + Construction Magazine’s 2020 Giants 400 Report. Internationally known for innovative, award-winning design of diverse building types—including airports, museums, convention centers, civic and government buildings, laboratories, and higher education facilities—Fentress ranked #36 on the Top 155 Architecture Firms list, progressing nine places from its 2019 ranking at #45.

In addition to the firm’s recognition as one of the Top Architecture Firms for 2020, Fentress, whose portfolio features over 40 convention center designs including the recently completed LEED Silver Miami Beach Convention Center, is ranked #5 in the Convention Centers / Conference Centers sector. With over $23.8 Billion and 115 Million square feet in aviation projects, the firm is ranked #8 in the Airport Terminal sector. Fentress also landed #22 in the overall Cultural Facilities sector, #10 in the Museums and Galleries category, #63 in the Office – Buildings / Core+Shell sector, and #98 in Office – All Building Work.

“We are proud that our firm was recognized for our continuous efforts to elevate design excellence in public architecture,” said Fentress Architects Principal in Charge of Design Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA. “Our ability to drive growth throughout the industry reflects our team’s unwavering commitment to innovation, along with the collaborative efforts of our clients and project partners.”

Miami Beach Convention Center. Photo: ©Tom Clark

Over the past year, Fentress’ projects achieved major milestones including the completion of four world-class projects: the new Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe, KS; the new Concourse D and Terminal Wings at Nashville International Airport® in Nashville, TN, which also became one of only five airport facilities in the US to achieve LEED v4 Silver certification; the Terminal Balancing and Concourse E Extension at Portland International Airport in Portland, OR; the Denver Art Museum North Building Renovation and Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center in Denver, CO; and the Miami Beach Convention Center Expansion and Renovation in Miami Beach, FL, which also achieved LEED Silver certification.

Denver International Airport Passenger Terminal Complex. Credit © Ellen Jaskol

As a testament to Fentress’ recognition, the firm garnered 16 awards for design excellence and innovation in 2020 alone, including the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) Colorado’s Twenty-Five Year Award for the Denver International Airport as well as the AIA Western Mountain Region’s Twenty-Five Year Award for the Clark County Government Center. The Miami Beach Convention Center landed a Silver Award in the Façade category of the 2020 World Architecture News (WAN) Awards and a 2020 BEST Award in the Serve category from the International Design Association’s (IIDA) Rocky Mountain Chapter.

Rendering of the Royal Norwegian Embassy Chancery Renovation. 

Positioned for a strong 2021, Fentress is anticipating the upcoming completion of the Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Nashville, TN as well as the Royal Norwegian Embassy Chancery Renovation in Washington, DC. Additionally, the firm is working on the new South Terminal C at Orlando International Airport, the Terminal Lobby and International Arrivals Facility at Nashville International Airport, the new Mickey Leland International Terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the U.S. Courthouse Huntsville, Alabama, and the National Museum of Intelligence and Special Operations—just to name a few.

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