Mickey Leland International Terminal at IAH

Houston, Texas, USA

This terminal project is the most significant expansion program undertaken at IAH since the airport opened in 1969.

The new Mickey Leland International Terminal Complex will be timeless, flexible, sustainable, and technologically-sophisticated.  This project consists of four primary elements:

  • a full replacement of the International Central Processor (ICP),
  • renovation of Terminal D’s concourse,
  • the addition of an international concourse called Pier D West, and
  • a replacement baggage screening facility.

The overall aesthetic will unify the existing campus.  In addition, it will also provide a memorable and welcoming experience for passengers.  The color palette draws inspiration from the warm earth tones of the Bayou City’s slow-moving waters. Art, multimedia displays, and local food offerings will further celebrate the culture and environment of Houston, which is the fourth largest and most culturally diverse city in the United States.

Passengers arriving and departing via ground transportation will experience a simplified road system.  A large protective roof canopy, reminiscent of a front porch, will also greet them.  This canopy feature signature elliptical forms.  These ellipses function throughout the Complex as strong wayfinding motifs.  Passengers arrive state-of-the-art, highly flexible security screening checkpoints.  These will feature a variety of current and future technologies, including facial recognition.

Passengers arriving by air will disembark via one of 19 new gates, all capable of accommodating wide-body aircraft such as Airbus’ A350 and Boeing’s 777 and 787 Dreamliner.  These passengers will experience a vibrant central meeter/greeter area bathed in natural light and suffused with natural ventilation.

Sustainable by Design

One of this facility’s most unique features is the strategic and artistic perforation of solid walls and ceilings with windows.  The effect emulates a myriad of ways in which Houstonians find comfort in their sub-tropical climate.  It also preserves views to the outdoors while protecting occupants from the hot Texas sun.  The west-facing wall of Pier D West features a particularly striking application of this strategy, as does the central meter and greeter area, which will be both bathed in natural light and suffused with natural ventilation.