Mickey Leland International Terminal at IAH

Houston, Texas, USA

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

The new Mickey Leland International Terminal Complex is designed to be timeless, flexible, sustainable, and technologically-sophisticated.  The project consists of:

  • 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 is designed to both unify the existing campus as well as provide a memorable and welcoming experience for passengers arriving to the fourth largest city and most culturally diverse city in the United States.  The color palette draws inspiration from the warm earth tones of the Bayou City’s slow-moving waters.  The culture and environment of Houston will be further celebrated in art, multimedia displays, and local food offerings.

Passengers arriving and departing via ground transportation will experience a simplified road system and a large protective roof canopy that feels like a front porch.  Under this canopy, departing passengers will be introduced at curbside to signature elliptical forms, which function throughout the Complex as strong wayfinding motifs.  Passengers will be guided to state-of-the-art, highly flexible security screening checkpoints, where a variety of current and future technologies will be accommodated 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.