Ambitious designs and big budgets are fueling airport construction across the country. So much has changed since most of our nation’s airports were built over 40 years ago. Environmental considerations are at the forefront of new builds—as is instilling airports with both a sense of place and the joy of lift off. Here’s what’s getting off the ground in Seattle.
Sustainable—and Beautiful Too
The design for Concourse C at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the first project that incorporates the Port of Seattle’s new Sustainable Project Framework. Specifically, as Construction Dive reports:
This includes embodied carbon reduction strategies like fossil fuel-free systems for heating and hot water, dishwashing capabilities for vendors to reduce the need for disposable dish ware, low-flow water fixtures and electrochroamatic window glazing. Rooftop photovoltaics and solar panels will provide up to 15% of the C Concourse expansion’s energy demand…Interiors will feature undulating Douglas fir panels across the ceiling and other wood accents, as well as observation decks with expansive views of the Olympic Mountains and the airfield.
General contractor, Turner, expects to initiate early work on Concourse C this summer, with major construction anticipated to be underway by mid 2023, at a budget estimated between $240-500 million. As Brian Hull, lead designer at Miller Hull explains: “The C Concourse Expansion will bring much-needed light, air, and passenger amenities to one of the busiest crossroads in the terminal. The new building was designed to bring back the excitement of flight with soaring interior volumes of space and multiple outdoor observation decks that reconnect us to the magic of travel and the iconic mountain and sound views that define the Pacific Northwest.”
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New York Too!
Dinginess and overcrowding is out of style everywhere—even at New York’s infamous LaGuardia Airport. Nearly complete, the $8 billion Terminal B features two soaring pedestrian sky bridges, which create more room for people and planes. Environmental considerations were also part of the plan. LaGuardia’s Terminal B was designed with “a 43%…water savings and an 18% reduction in energy costs. Most of the debris from Terminal B’s garage demolition were repurposed for the new construction, according to the Port Authority, and even the baggage handling system was designed to save on energy, with a sleep mode that only moves when bags are present.”
Health, Convenience and Adaptability
Not surprisingly, current construction at airports around the country reflects the concerns of coping with COVID-19. Efforts to improve the travel experience include creating quieter, roomier spaces and “biophilic design” approaches that let the outside in.
Prominent features of new builds include:
- Spacious interiors designed to be easily adapted to emerging needs and policies.
- More emphasis on creating distance between travelers.
- The addition of green spaces and lounges with outdoor seating.
- Better ventilation to improve indoor air quality and filter out germs and pollutants.
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