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Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Modernization Named One of Year’s Best Projects

As part of the joint venture team designing improvements to the domestic passenger terminals at the world’s busiest airport, HOK’s services have included architecture, structural engineering, interiors and lighting design.

Honored by ENR Southeast as the year’s best airport project, the landside modernization features the addition of two dramatic canopies over curbside pick-up and drop-off areas and a redesigned central atrium space. Composed of panels of translucent ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) and supported by a contemporary steel frame, the new canopies offer shelter from Atlanta’s heat and rain while maintaining views of the sky.

Excerpted from ENR Southeast:

Updating the North and South domestic airline terminals at the world’s busiest airport required a carefully staged construction plan, particularly when it came to building two massive structural steel canopies over the north and south terminal roadways. Measuring 864 ft x 200 ft and covered by inflatable ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) fabric pillows, the canopies are supported by existing building columns on the terminal and massive concrete piers erected across the road.

The canopies were optimized with fabrication and construction feasibility in mind. Truss chords that appear to have gradually varying curves are comprised of discrete constant-curvature sections, which were significantly less expensive to fabricate. Contractor NSMS—the joint-venture of New South Construction, McCarthy Building Cos. and Synergy Development Partners—collaborated with designers and its trade partners to craft connections that increased the productivity of canopy erection during periods when the roadway was closed during overnight hours.

The 40-year-old terminal facades underwent a complete makeover, with entryways demolished to make way for new curtain wall, sliding doors and metal-paneled mini-canopies at each entrance. The full exterior facade was also re-skinned with metal panels, new storefront clerestories and glass panels. Advanced project management software helped identify potential logistical issues up to a year in advance.

Carrying out a multifaceted construction program at the “front door” of an airport serving more than 200,000 travelers a day demanded close attention to coordinate multiple—and often competing—budget, schedule and operational impacts. By applying advanced project management and scheduling software, the team was able to identify, communicate and mitigate issues that could potentially have slowed construction activity or compromised passenger service.

Image courtesy of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

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