Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (Tampa International Airport)


Tampa, FL




Architecture, Interior Design, Experiential Design and Wayfinding

A positive passenger experience is Hillsborough County Aviation Authority’s (HCAA) top priority. As part of a 20-year master plan to enhance the airport, HCAA hired Gresham Smith to modernize TPA’s main terminal. Working with the client to establish an overall vision based on guiding principles, our team transformed the traditional transit hub to a distinct, dynamic destination.

video walls
new flight information displays
new restrooms

We first worked with airport leadership to establish an overall vision and guiding principles for the project. Our goals included: showcasing innovative technology, adding warmth and brightness throughout the terminal, de-cluttering the terminal, and incorporating the essence of Tampa Bay to promote regional tourism. Then, we broke the project into three separate phases.

a seating area next to the escalators that go down to baggage claim in the terminal at Tampa International Airport

During Phase 1 we renovated 30 public restrooms and the aviation authority’s offices, added a new United Service Organization suite, a traveler’s aid counter and a tourism information center, upgraded the valet parking and modified signage. Phase 2 included refurbishing walls and floors, upgrading elevator cores, improving escalators and adding new furniture. During Phase 3 we installed 22 new large digital displays in the terminal, 15 LCD advertising screens in the baggage area, and seven large-format LCD and eight large-scale LED video walls throughout the terminal to enhance wayfinding.

the elevator bank clad in red glass at Tampa International Airport

Even during construction, TPA’s customer service ranking soared. In the Airport Service Quality Awards compiled by Airports Council International, the airport rose from fifth to third in the world for global airports which serve 15 million to 25 million passengers. TPA was also ranked third best airport for customer service in North America for the same period by ACI.