Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is experiencing continuing, sustained growth, so in its mission to be the preferred airport and airline hub for the region, CLT is focused on projects to enhance the customer experience. We’ve worked with them to develop a comprehensive, airport-wide wayfinding master plan. Gresham Smith is also responsible for a face-lift, designing the expansion and renovation of CLT’s main terminal lobby. The 370,000-square-foot expansion/renovation of the CLT’s main terminal lobby is an essential part of its long-term construction and development plan to meet the growing demand of one of the busiest airports nationwide in terms of operations.


Charlotte Douglas International Airport


Charlotte, NC

Project Type



square-foot expansion and renovation of the main terminal lobby


square-foot curbside canopy


passengers annually

Designing the Experience: Southern Hospitality, Charlotte Style

Designing the Experience: Southern Hospitality, Charlotte Style

Charlotte – known as the Queen City – was named by English settlers in honor of their beloved Queen Charlotte. A statue of Queen Charlotte is a prominent fixture at the airport and provided inspiration for our design coupled with touches of southern hospitality.

The new terminal lobby aims to provide passengers the royal treatment, marrying a sense of place and delight with smart design to accommodate travelers’ needs with an emphasis on convenience and comfort. Timeless geometries and grand spaces that reference the movement and grace of the Queen Charlotte statue are balanced by a clean, understated modernism.

Clarity and Comfort Through Wayfinding

Clarity and Comfort Through Wayfinding

More than 44 million passengers travel through CLT annually, so we listened to a few – actually, 2,000 – about what it’s like and what’s important to them when it comes to navigating the space. Based on surveys from customers, Gresham Smith came up with a wayfinding master plan to help passengers find their way without getting lost or confused, addressing the entire wayfinding experience: gateway, roadway, parking, curbside, terminal, concourse and gate areas for departing, arriving and connecting passengers.
Curbside Connections

Curbside Connections

One of the iconic design features is a soaring 150,000-square-foot curbside canopy. Not only does this keep loading and unloading passengers protected from the elements – a simple touch of hospitality – it also creates important connection. Covering the entire elevated roadway, the canopy connects the terminal curbside and the existing rental car/hourly parking garage.


Project Contact

Our team designs with genuine care for ingenious solutions.

Design with us.

David L. King, AIA, NCARB
David L. King, AIA, NCARB
Regional Vice President