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Modernizing the World’s Most Traveled Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The world’s most traveled airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is embarking on a $6 billion, 20-year expansion and modernization program.

As part of the capital improvement program, HOK is leading the joint venture team designing a $200 million improvement to the airport’s domestic passenger terminal. The project features the addition of two large canopies over curbside pick-up and drop-off areas and a redesigned central atrium space.

In 2015, the 207-gate Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport became the world’s first airport to handle more than 100 million passengers in a year, reaching a high of 101.5 million. As the airport prepares to serve even more travelers in the coming decades, the design of the terminal modernization will improve the passenger experience.

The airport’s vision is to create an exceptional experience for all its guests. The solution embraces the buzz of the world’s most traveled airport while giving passengers a sense of ease and clarity navigating the world-class, 400,000-sq.-ft. domestic terminal.

Visitors will arrive and depart under two transparent new canopies providing shelter and comfort from Atlanta’s ever-changing weather while maintaining access to views of the sky and daylight. Composed of translucent ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) panels supported by a contemporary steel frame, the 864-foot-long canopies help redefine the character of the building as a 21st-century air terminal.

Central to the passenger experience, the design of a 15,000-sq.-ft. atrium creates a lush, park-like setting that reflects the Atlanta landscape and is brightened by a circular skylight. In this space, passengers can pause and relax on their way to and from gates. Integrated technology connects passengers to retail and information in the context of a microcosm of Atlanta’s culture. The design converts the atrium from a processing space to an engaging civic area that connects visitors and travelers to Atlanta, reinforcing the airport as an ambassador for the region.

The high-performance design features energy-efficient cladding and building systems. Ceilings will be altered to improve the harvesting of natural light and to optimize interior lighting systems, which include LED lighting.

Improved circulation and signage systems will make wayfinding intuitive. A clearly marked airport security screening zone leads passengers from the atrium to concourses and gates. Improvements to the baggage claim area include highly visible digital monitors and new speaker systems.

The HOK-led joint venture for the terminal modernization includes Stanley, Love-Stanley, P.C., and Chasm Architecture, L.L.C., both headquartered in Atlanta.


60,000 sq. ft. / 5,575 sq. m


Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Lighting Design
Structural Engineering


1 July 2016
“Reaching New Heights”
Engineering Georgia

7 June 2016
“Georgian Masterpiece”
Passenger Terminal Today

1 May 2016
“Delta Passengers Plug in as Atlanta International Begins Terminal Modernization”
Airport Improvement
28 April 2016
“How HOK Landed a $200 Million Deal to Redesign the World’s Busiest Airport”
St. Louis Business Journal

27 April 2016
“Alternative ATL: World’s Busiest Airport to Get Futuristic Facelift”

6 April 2016
“Hartsfield-Jackson Terminal Renovation Aims for Dramatic Facelift of Airport”
Atlanta Journal Constitution

4 April 2016
“HOK-Led Joint Venture Designs Terminal Modernization for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport”
HOK News

25 March 2016
“First Look: Atlanta Airport’s Dramatic Terminal Overhaul”
Curbed Atlanta