Terminal 2 at RDU

Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, USA

Fentress Architects used the theme “hand-made, mind-made” to create a sense of place for Raleigh-Durham's new Terminal 2.

The decision to redevelop Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport was prompted by a mix of factors, including shifts in travel patterns, carrier operations, and technological innovations. Specifically, these innovations would allow advancements that better serve the region’s residents while respecting the state’s aesthetic, academic and economic heritage.  The Terminal 2 project also included the large-scale and complex task of maintaining a fully operational airport environment throughout all phases of construction.

With the design and construction of this major redevelopment project, RDU is now home to state-of-the-art technology features, common-use facilities, and a fully automated in-line baggage screening system to simplify the security process.  Major exterior and interior architectural elements play off abstractions of the state’s past and future. For example, the rolling roofs of the terminal and concourse pay tribute to the hills of the Piedmont region. Meanwhile, curbside canopies evoke images of textile machines, honoring an industry that has long supported the local economy.

Inside, dramatic wood lenticular trusses arch overhead. These trusses are an homage to the region’s indigenous furniture and craft industries, as well as the native wooded countryside.  The design promotes intuitive wayfinding for passengers while creating a column-free, long-span structure that maximizes flexibility for the future. These features are essential in an industry that must respond quickly to change. Additionally, extensive glass curtainwalls along the terminal and concourses allow abundant sunshine to naturally illuminate interior spaces, providing for a more pleasurable passenger experience.

Award-Winning Design

  • #9 Best Regional Airport in North America, Skytrax World Airport Awards, 2019
  • #5 in Passenger Satisfaction, J.D. Power Study of North American Airports, 2019
  • Award of Excellence (Commercial/Institutional), AIA Colorado, 2016
  • Southeast Wood Design Award, WoodWorks, 2011
  • Best Community Project ($1M or More), Drywall Northern California Drywall Contractors Association, 2010
  • Honor Award, National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, 2012