LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B symbolizes the top-to-bottom transformation of one of the nation’s highest-profile airports. The transparent, fluid design of the 850,000-squar-foot Arrivals and Departures Hall (headhouse) celebrates movement while conveying a strong civic presence. The headhouse acts as the terminal’s front door, with dramatic pedestrian bridges that link to midfield concourses and gates. Before beginning to work on Terminal B, the architects provided professional advisory services for the $8 billion rebuilding of LaGuardia, the first entirely new airport in the U.S. in more than 25 years. In coordination with the owner, operator and other members of the client team and partner firms, the architects developed a cohesive, overarching design worthy of one of the world’s great cities. The original master plan provided for the design competition suggested a headhouse with traditional peninsular concourses extending into the airfield. The developer and design team instead had a bold vision of creating two island concourses accessed from the main terminal through two 450-foot-long, 65-foot-high pedestrian bridges. The island-and-bridges scheme dramatically increased the efficiency of airport operations by moving the new Terminal B some 600 feet closer to the Grand Central Parkway. This recaptured 40 acres of land for airside operations. The bridge solution enabled contractors to build the new terminal over the top of the existing structure—a move that shaved almost two years off the construction schedule and minimized the impact to ongoing airport operations. The simpler, faster construction phasing saved millions of dollars. The new Terminal B celebrates arrivals and departures with equal emphasis, challenging the industry practice of reserving the most monumental spaces for departures while relegating arrivals to low-ceilinged, basement-like zones. The interior environment of the new headhouse communicates NYC’s vibrancy, material sensibility and cultural diversity. Incoming and outgoing passengers share soaring, airy, grand-scaled sequences punctuated by 60-foot-high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that fill the space with daylight. Indoor green space is modeled after New York’s urban pocket parks and includes lush landscaping and sculptural benches. Concourses feature ample seating with charging stations across all 35 gates, spacious and modern restrooms, and nursing rooms for mothers and infants. The new terminal showcases custom public art installations curated by the Public Art Fund in partnership with LGP. As the world’s first airport to earn LEED v4 Gold certification, Terminal B has helped pioneer sustainability measures for civil infrastructure projects. With an Envision Platinum rating (the highest possible), it is the first project to earn recognition under v3 of the framework developed by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.


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