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30 October 2015

Salt Lake City Officials Reveal $1.8 Billion Airport Terminal Redevelopment Designed by HOK

Salt Lake City Interior

City and airport officials recently unveiled details of the new Salt Lake City International Airport’s $1.8 billion terminal redevelopment designed by HOK.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Airport Executive Director Maureen Riley presented the new design, highlighting features that will make the terminal more “convenient, inspiring and sustainable,” according to the mayor.

“We are supporting the city’s goal of creating one of the world’s premier airports with an inspirational design that celebrates our region and provides an immediate sense of place,” said Riley. “At the same time, developing a completely new terminal allows us to support the needs of our airport’s guests and the airlines as efficiently as possible.” Scheduled to open in 2020, the new three-story terminal and concourse will eventually replace a total of 29 outdated structures, including three separate terminals and five concourses. This single, highly efficient, 1.7 million-sq.-ft. terminal building will be located west of the existing complex and have the capacity to serve up to 23 million passengers per year.

By providing an uplifting travel experience for passengers, the flexible facility will support the region’s growth and the airport’s position as a hub for Delta Air Lines. The project team is also designing the terminal complex to mitigate seismic risk.

HOK’s design celebrates Utah’s natural beauty and reputation as an outdoor recreation hub. The airport is nestled between the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges and the Great Salt Lake. Floor-to-ceiling glass provides expansive views to the airfield and iconic mountains and provides an uplifting, cheerful ambiance. Generous use of glass and earth-toned interior and exterior finishes connects passengers to the local landscape.

“One of the best things about coming into Salt Lake City is flying through the valley between the mountain ranges as you approach the airport,” said Robert Chicas, director of HOK’s Aviation + Transportation practice. “By bringing the beauty of the environment into the facility and incorporating sustainable design strategies that create a healthy, pleasant atmosphere, the terminal becomes an extension of that experience.”

Salt Lake City Exterior

At the building’s heart is a soaring interior space called the Canyon, which houses security screening areas, shopping and dining facilities. This open space is a visual anchor that organizes the terminal. A large-scale sculpture by award-winning artist Gordon Huether defines the Canyon walls and reflects natural Utah elements such as red rock canyons, alpine peaks, moving water and cottony white clouds.

Separate from the baggage claim area, a large meet-and-greet space accommodates the groups that often welcome returning Latter-day Saints missionaries. A public art program highlights Salt Lake City’s thriving art community and lifts the spirits of passengers.

With a target of LEED Gold certification, sustainable design strategies minimize the airport’s environmental footprint. High-performance glazing systems are optimized to draw in daylight while preventing heat gain. Energy-efficient mechanical and lighting systems provide additional savings. The efficient configuration of the terminal and gate locations greatly reduces fuel use and aircraft emissions. Additionally, airlines plan to convert all of their airport ground equipment to electrically charged vehicles.

Airport officials expect the terminal, which is in its second year of construction, to open in 2020 and the entire project to be complete by 2023. In collaboration with the airport and airlines, the HOK team developed a construction phasing strategy that will incrementally add new facilities and decommission the old ones while minimizing disruption to the airport’s day-to-day operations. HOK’s “future-proof” design provides flexibility that will enable specific areas to be easily modified and reconfigured as the airport’s and airlines’ needs change over time.

Salt Lake City Exterior

Engineering-News Record recognized the Salt Lake City Department of Airports (SLCDA) for its project leadership by naming it 2015 Intermountain Owner of the Year.


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