CLT Breaks Ground on Gresham Smith-Designed Terminal Lobby Expansion

December 10, 2019

Gresham Smith celebrates the groundbreaking of the Terminal Lobby Expansion project at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). The expansion will transform the terminal to create a welcoming space and improve operations. Designed by the firm and DAS Architecture, the project comprises a 370,000-square-foot expansion, a 150,000-square-foot canopy and two passenger skybridges that connect the curbside and existing rental car/hourly parking garage, as well as renovations to the existing portions of the terminal lobby.

“Charlotte is known as the Queen City. So, as part of our Destination CLT capital investment program, we’re building an airport fit for the queen,” said Jack Christine, COO, Charlotte Douglas International Airport. “Gresham Smith’s design for the Terminal Lobby Expansion reflects our unique region and really elevates the passenger experience. Our commitment to our passengers also means maintaining a high level of service throughout construction. Collaborating with construction managers, Gresham Smith developed an effective, phased approach to address our large, complex project.”

“We are excited to work with the airport and partners to bring the new Terminal lobby to life. The design extends the passenger experience from the Terminal to the curbside, providing a sense of hospitality before travelers even enter the expanded and reimagined Terminal lobby,” said Wilson Rayfield, AIA, LEED AP, executive vice president, Gresham Smith. “With the goal of providing passengers with the ‘royal treatment’ our solution marries a sense of place and delight with smart design to accommodate travelers’ needs.”

The Queen Charlotte statue is a prominent feature at the airport and provided inspiration coupled with touches of southern hospitality. The design team abstracted shapes and forms for the building from the dynamic, rich quality of the sculpture, which conveys movement and liveliness. The Queen also serves as a physical focal point through the creation of the “Queen’s Courtyard,” a monumental space housing the statue, enjoyed by both departing and arriving passengers. The addition of the canopy and skybridges offer protection from the elements and provide a dedicated, separate path for pedestrians away from vehicular traffic so they no longer cross the public curbside.

The project will be completed in six phases. Gresham Smith is leading the architecture, interior design, experiential design and wayfinding, and commissioning for the Terminal Lobby Expansion, and is pursuing Green Globes certification for the expansion. Previously, Gresham Smith developed an airport-wide wayfinding master plan as well as partnered with DAS Architecture to design The Plaza, a new concessions area at concourses D and E.