Rebuilding an airport while remaining in business


Renovating an airport while operating an airport presents special challenges, not only for the construction team working at Charleston International Airport, but the design team that works alongside Austin | Hitt Joint Venture. So when you can't close the airport, how do you plan for its renovation?

In the second of our three-part series about designing the new CHS, Thomas P. Theobald, a principal with Fentress Architects tells us how it's done. Fentress Architects is aglobal design firm that has worked in airports in the United States and internationally.

What were some of the challenges in designing this project within the existing facility and footprint and how did you overcome them?

Expanding and renovating an airport while maintaining operations is always a huge challenge. In order to keep operations and passenger circulation moving efficiently, we had to make sure everything was planned out from the beginning. This situation makes safety of an even greater concern and all work processes have to be completed in a safe manner.

What architectural features stand out to you in the design? Are any on trend with airport construction today?

Floor-to-ceiling glass curtain walls, clerestories, and new energy-efficient vestibules will stand out to travelers.

From the onset of the project, sustainability and the use of Charleston’s abundant natural daylight were two important elements that we incorporated into our design. LEED-certified and socially responsible buildings are becoming more of a trend in airport programs, and airport operators are seeing the cost savings from energy-saving devices.

Our design promotes openness with longer spans and column-free spaces which also allows for flexibility in operations and technological changes in the future.

Last time: Creating a Charleston feel in the new airport
Coming next: Ensuring the airport design creates a great passenger experience

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