For Jackson Hole Airport’s latest renovation CLB Architects combines home and travel hub

Traveling to the Tetons

For Jackson Hole Airport’s latest renovation CLB Architects combines home and travel hub

The design maximizes views of the Teton Mountain Range. (Matthew Millman/Courtesy CLB Architects)

CLB Architects has reimagined part of Jackson Hole Airport in phase eight of a long term project to transform the point-of-entry for tourists traveling to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone, and nearby mountains poised for winter (and summer) recreation.

A series of renovations beginning in 2008 have occurred to replace the original Jackson Hole Airport, a post-and-beam timber structure from the 1970s, with Gensler as design architect and architect of record, and CLB as executive architect.

Jackson Hole Airport is the only airport sited on a U.S. National Park. (Matthew Millman/Courtesy Gensler)

This latest phase completed by CLB Architects—an office with locations in Jackson, Wyoming and Bozeman, Montana—in June 2023 further upgraded the transportation venue to facilitate the flow of 21st-century travelers. The renewed spaces and addition accommodates the 400,000 travelers the airport receives annually. This upgrade includes a new restaurant, expanded holding area, two additional gates, a gift shop, and an updated baggage claim area fitted with a snack bar and retail space, all in the pursuit of blending the ideas of “home” and “travel hub.”

Jackson Hole Airport is the only U.S. airport sited within a national park. Thus, the latest upgrades to the terminal are extension of the natural environment and have been modeled after the vision designed by Gensler that was completed in 2016.

A fireplace anchors the terminal, giving it a home-y feel. (Matthew Millman/Courtesy CLB Architects)

Designing on a national park presented unique parameters architects had to navigate: The National Park Service imposted a strict developable height and area limit. The open floor plan fits within this envelope while maximizing the terminal’s view portals. Below grade, the architects specified over 3,000 square feet of flexible space in anticipation of the airport’s future growth. This decision allowed the airport to have off-shoot space while respecting the 18-foot height limit.

The latest renovation made upgrades to retail spaces within the airport terminal (Matthew Millman/Courtesy CLB Architects)

To give the new spaces the desired home-y feel, a monumental fireplace anchors the terminal. This feature is complemented by commissioned artwork, creating what the architects call a welcoming, highly functional “living room” for Jackson, Wyoming.

The terminal’s structural members are made up of Douglas fir glulam beams, rough-hewn log columns, and lightweight steel. Polished concrete benches with leather seats line the glazed walls, offering space for rest with great views. A wall made of quartzite is meant to string together a sense of continuity with the previous version of the airport.

Indirect up-lighting is designed to create an evocative, atmospheric quality that contrasts with the typical cold, fluorescent lighting so common in other airports. This luminary quality is amplified by warm downlighting and LED accents that ensure retail areas have pronounced visibility. The design leverages its context by affording open floor plans that yield clear sight corridors of the park, the airplane runways, and the Teton Mountain Range beyond.

New restaurants and dining and retail spaces were a main component of the redesign. (Matthew Millman/Courtesy CLB Architects)

“We wanted to create an area that felt comfortable for people to actually sit and dine or have a drink,” said Cary Lakeman, a senior project manager at CLB, “because the previous restaurant really had no opportunity for that.” CLB partner Kevin Burked added: “We designed a very open airy space, where they can arrange furniture and have much more freedom to lay out the operations of whatever function they’re trying to facilitate.”

This upgrade marks the eighth project that CLB has completed at Jackson Hole Airport. Previously, the firm worked on a private air terminal and three hangar structures.

Update: This article was revised to include Gensler’s contribution to the project.