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$1.5B Terminal Breaks Ground at Kansas City International Airport

KANSAS CITY, MO — Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) recently joined the Kansas City Aviation Department, the City of Kansas City, Missouri and officials from around the region, major airlines, developer Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate, design-builder Clark|Weitz|Clarkson (CWC) and organized labor and business representatives to break ground on the Kansas City International Airport New Terminal, an air travel hub that 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 CWC, the project will transform the existing airport, adding a 1-million-square-foot new, single terminal embodying the city’s identity as a growing center of technology and innovation.
“We’re excited to move forward on this landmark project for Kansas City and eager to put men and women to work,” said Geoff Stricker, Edgemoor Managing Director. “This has been a great partnership with the city and airline partners, and we look forward to building on that to deliver an exceptional new terminal for travelers and the airlines alike.”
The project will replace Kansas City’s existing facilities — which were built in 1972 — with a 39-gate terminal designed with the flexibility to expand to 50 gates in the future. The new terminal will provide major enhancements to the city’s air travel experience upon its completion in 2023.
Echoing Kansas City’s 1914 Union Station, the new terminal will feature a fountain. At the entrance, an overhang supported by structurally expressed Y columns and a glass facade will create a grand and transparent space, while the retail spaces and two concourses will step down toward a human scale. The expressed steel structural system is balanced by a natural wood inlay to provide inviting spaces for passengers. Outdoor waiting areas will also leverage the site’s surrounding natural landscape to provide a calming space for respite.
“SOM’s 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 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 — one of the design’s sustainability features. The new terminal is targeting LEED Gold certification through the use of natural light, the maximization of window-to-wall ratio and the use of natural materials.

“The new terminal will significantly update Kansas City International Airport to 21st-century standards while evoking the spirit of Kansas City,” said SOM Director Peter Lefkovits. “By using materials like natural wood, designing the terminal with variation in scale and taking inspiration from the city’s transportation past, our goal is to set a new benchmark for airport design.”

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