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George Bush Intercontinental Airport Federal Inspection Services Building

Houston, Texas

HOK has designed a major component of George Bush Intercontinental Airport’s $1.3 billion redevelopment program, which includes construction of the international terminal.

Our team designed renovations to the airport’s Federal Inspection Services (FIS) building and new construction for portions of the international ticketing and departures hall, collectively named the Mickey Leland International Terminal.

Passengers will move from the new 11-lane departures curb into the check-in hall, where diffused daylight will flood the double-height space from three sides.

HOK’s design transforms what had been Terminal E’s check-in area into a light-filled, spacious TSA security checkpoint. With generous queue space and automated screening lanes, this new space brings a sense of calm to passengers. As passengers enter the security checkpoint, two flanking portal walls on the departures level showcase the beauty of Houston’s landscape and a central piece of art: the existing congressman Mickey Leland statue relocated from Terminal D.

The design revitalizes the international terminal’s arrivals area. Arriving passengers experience renovations in centralized immigration and customs inspection areas. Re-check accommodations in the FIS recheck area include new ADA counters, flight information displays, restrooms, bag service offices and vertical circulation for those continuing their travels. An oversize baggage handling system is on the south end.

Within the new terminal, exiting passengers pass through the FIS exit featuring images of the welcoming arms of Houston’s live oaks and park settings. These are the large portal walls separating passengers from the FIS and new meeter/greeter area.

The new arrivals hall accommodates four pre-cleared bag claim carousels, a large meter greeter area, concessions and information/concierge services. An oculus-shaped threshold links the departures and arrivals halls.

The “Mozart Blue” color of the exterior metal building panels attracts the attention of departing passengers traveling via automobile and helps with wayfinding. The blue color distinguishes the new building while relating to the Texas state flower (bluebonnet) and dog (Blue Lacy), as well as to the numerous bodies of water in the Bayou City.

The HOK-designed addition includes a stacked roadway for departures and arrivals and a full-length, protective canopy spanning all 11 lanes at the departures level.

The curbside experience sets the stage for travelers to admire the airport’s expanding collection of public art. Planned in collaboration with the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, three exterior art installations will appear on both departures and arrivals levels along the garage facade. The three locations are:

  • Departures level: a full-length wall with art at C Garage.
  • Arrivals level: a full-length wall with art.
  • Arrivals level to the southwest corner of the arrival curbs: close to the pet relief area.

The art program continues in the building’s large public spaces, with pieces in key locations acting as focal points for each step of the passenger journey.

The team’s sustainable design goals include providing a LEED Silver equivalence design indicative of the highest design standards. No certification will be pursued. Additionally, HAS design standards dictate a 20 percent improvement over current energy code requirements.

HOK is collaborating with Houston-based architect Page and construction manager at-risk Hensel Phelps.

218,500 sq. ft. / 20,300 sq. m.
(new expansion)
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