Utah’s largest city wants visitors to know from the moment their planes touch down that the state is a natural wonderland—its new $1.8 billion airport terminal is designed to emphasize the region’s mountainous splendor.
When it opens in 2020, the Salt Lake City Airport’s expansion will consolidate its three separate terminals into one three-story terminal, boost the number of gates to 73, add 3,600 parking spaces, and be serviced by a new light rail station. It will also be among the world’s most sustainable airports, aiming for LEED Gold certification with an ambition toward becoming the nation’s first “net-zero” facility where as much electricity is generated as is used.
The five-year plan unveiled this fall illustrates a unified airport terminal experience designed by HOK’s Aviation + Transportation division. “One of the great things about flying into Salt Lake City is flying into the valley between the mountain ranges on the approach to the airport,” Robert Chicas, a director at HOK, said in a statement. “This new terminal will be an extension of that experience.”
Nature will be at the core of the design. Expanses of glass will flood the terminal with light and views of the distant mountains rising from the flat topography of the airfield. The terminal’s color scheme will take cues from the natural landscape with its red-tinted rock and icy blue winter skies.
The terminal is organized around a dramatic space called “The Canyon.” Walls of the oversize room will be clad with sinuous abstract bas-reliefs illuminated by changing colors. The new entry procession will be streamlined with added security checkpoints, a new public terminal space with additional shops, and improved baggage claim areas with an eye toward reducing pedestrian congestion.