Back in October 2020, ZGF Architects provided AN with an early glimpse of the $1.5 billion new terminal building at the Portland International Airport (PDX), a sylvan 17,500-square-foot space complete with nature-infused interiors and a skylight-studded timber roof constructed from sustainably sourced local wood that pays homage to the rugged landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.
Now, ZGF and the Port of Portland have released a fresh batch of renderings that provide new interior and exterior views of the new terminal, which is the largest of five major capital improvement projects that have been completed or are underway at the highly raked, (once) famously carpeted Oregonian air travel hub—it’s the 30th busiest airport in the United States based on passenger traffic—as part of the Port of Portland’s PDX Next campaign.
The new terminal is expected to be completed in 2025 with installation work on the roof set to kick off next year.
While the previously released renderings focused largely, but not exclusively, on the oversized apertures in the undulating wood roof that will pull abundant natural light into the interior, the new imagery includes a moody, eastward-facing bird’s eye view of the new terminal building flanked by the landscape—including the towering peaks of the Cascade range—that inspired its design, a view looking outside-in through a massive glazed wall on the terminal’s west side with details of the timber roof’s intricate lattice design, and additional views of passengers moving through and taking a load off in the terminal’s soaring, park-like public spaces. These spaces include seating areas and storefronts located off of the terminal’s central tree-lined “street” now referred to as “the seam.” As previously detailed, the terminal’s design is not only meant to evoke the heavily forested terrain of the Pacific Northwest but also Portland’s network of dense, walkable neighborhoods.
Designed by ZGF in collaboration with landscape architecture firm PLACE, the myriad landscaped elements of the new main terminal include hanging gardens, large trees, and a variety of flora meant to resemble plant life native to the Pacific Northwest. (As detailed by PDX Next, most plants planned for the new terminal, although as close to the real deal as possible, differ from those actually found in the wild across the region as they would have difficult thriving bound to planters inside of a busy airport building.)
“My experience with airports is that they’re typically just a place to pass through, and the experience is not that exciting,” Christian Schoewe, architect at ZGF, explained in a preview shared on the dedicated PDX Next website. “I genuinely feel like this reimagined main terminal will be a destination that embodies the ‘walk in the forest’ concept we’ve been talking about. Even if you are just passing through, we hope your experience will feel relaxed rather than rushed.”