New look for Kansas City

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Architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has revealed the new look for Missouri’s Kansas City International Airport.

The new state-of-the-art air travel hub will be the largest single infrastructure project in Kansas City’s history. Designed, planned and engineered by SOM and a team of local and national consultants in collaboration with design-builder Clark | Weitz | Clarkson, the project will transform the existing airport, adding a 1,000,000ft2 (92,900m2) new, single terminal designed to embody the city’s identity as a growing center of technology and innovation.

The project will replace Kansas City’s existing facilities, built in 1972, with a 39-gate terminal designed with the flexibility to expand to 50 gates in the future. The new terminal is expected to be complete by 2023.

Echoing Kansas City’s 1914 Union Station, the terminal will feature a fountain. At the entrance, a generous overhang and glass façade will create a grand, transparent space, while the retail spaces and two concourses have been designed to be more human in scale. The steel structural system is balanced by a natural wood inlay to provide warmth. Outdoor waiting areas will also leverage the site’s surrounding natural landscape, providing a calming space.

“Our design for Kansas City International Airport blends a historic sensibility with the latest technology,” said SOM managing partner Laura Ettelman. “It will bring an entirely new look and feel for air travel in the area, and like Union Station a century ago, it will become the next great room for the city.”

SOM’s plan veers away from standard airport design. Rather than create a sprawling terminal that would be too large to take in at once, the design emphasizes quick and seamless transitioning with a compact layout. Walking distances are kept to a minimum. Check-in and security are consolidated into one space. A dual-level roadway will separate the vehicular traffic between arrivals and departures, with the terminal’s entrance and passenger-parking facilities located on either side to make the entire airport walkable. The new terminal is targeting LEED Gold certification through the extensive use of natural light, the maximization of window-to-wall ratio, and the use of natural materials.

All images © SOM | ATCHAIN

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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