Supporting Mississippi’s Gulf Coast manufacturing, military, government, tourism and gaming industries, GPT is forecast to experience an annualized rate of growth of more than five percent over the next 20 years, putting strain on the airport’s existing infrastructure.

To cope with this growth, the airport hired Gresham Smith to provide architectural programming, planning and design services on a vast array of related improvement projects:

  • The terminal expansion included enhancements to the ticketing hall, passenger security screening checkpoint and baggage claim, as well as new curbside lanes for commercial vehicles;
  • For the new landside façade, designers pulled from vernacular architecture to develop a contemporary, classical look reminiscent of other Gulf Coast buildings;
  • The new checked baggage screening component provides 100% screening using five in-line automated EDS devices;
  • The terminal expansion also included two new passenger boarding bridges as well as aircraft layout to support the footprint of the new concourse;
  • Gresham Smith provided complete architectural and engineering services to plan and design an expandable 50,000-square-foot air cargo facility which includes 20,000 square feet of refrigerated space;
  • Gresham Smith also consulted on the functional design, site circulation, and preliminary architectural design for a parking facility improvement, including a new three-level, 800-space structure.

The entire project was significantly delayed as a direct result of major damage from Hurricane Katrina. Gresham Smith remained on board for the life of the project, providing architectural services and consultation for the rehabilitation of many of the airport’s facilities, including the repair and replacement of several building systems and hangar facilities.

The new terminal at GPT more than doubled its size and was designed with an eye toward future expansion. Featuring soaring halls, volumes of natural light, warm wood tones and a ticketing hall ceiling reflective of the curve of an airplane wing, the new airport rearranges and streamlines technology and traffic flow while a new curbside expansion handles the region’s booming tourist industry with enhanced security. But the mid-construction arrival of Hurricane Katrina and the manner with which the design team and community worked together to recover, illustrates how difficult circumstances, when managed well, can build trust and loyalty in a working relationship.


Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport


Gulfport, Mississippi

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Wilson Rayfield, AIA, LEED AP
Wilson Rayfield, AIA, LEED AP
Executive Vice President, Aviation