The busiest airport in one of the Eastern Seaboard’s most active transportation, shipping and military hubs, Norfolk International Airport (ORF) serves approximately 3 million passengers each year. Due to evolving security protocols and passenger growth, the existing checkpoints for concourses A and B were experiencing congestion and circulation issues that produced long lines at peak travel times. As part of a larger terminal modernization program, Norfolk Airport Authority chose Gresham Smith to design two all-new passenger screening security checkpoints, which would accommodate new screening equipment, accelerate passenger processing times, and augment airport safety and security.

The new, larger checkpoints feature clear-span designs that maximize the amount of usable area. The column-free spaces improve circulation, alleviate congestion and support long-term growth by creating room for future increases in screening capacity and throughput. Extending the finishes from other areas of the terminal, wood-clad beams, a travertine-stone feature wall and patterned terrazzo enhance the ambiance and blend the aesthetic from the atrium to the concourse. Full-height glass walls provide exterior views and bring abundant daylight into the checkpoints. Using occupancy sensors, time clocks and daylight sensors, the design helps reduce the use of artificial lighting when natural light is sufficient.

Creating the space necessary for both new security screening checkpoints required the design and construction of an addition to the existing terminal building—a challenging prospect at an operational airport. The new checkpoint spaces were constructed around an existing passenger access bridge prior to demolition work. Technical challenges were compounded by the fact that the bridge spanned across the outbound baggage route for the entire airport and an active service yard for concession deliveries and waste removal. Minimizing disruptions required clearly defined construction phasing and work hours.

The new and expanded security checkpoints at concourses A and B have reduced congestion during peak travel periods and created a more pleasant passenger experience. Improving one of the most stressful elements of commercial air travel, the modern, bright and vibrant spaces give Norfolk International Airport the capacity and flexibility to achieve continued growth and success.


Norfolk Airport Authority


Norfolk, Virginia

Project Type