Terminal East Infill Project Wins Top Steel Innovative Design Award

June 13, 2017

Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) Terminal East Infill project is to be honored by American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) with the presentation of a 2017 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) award. For more than 50 years, the award has been the highest honor bestowed on building projects by the structural steel industry in the U.S. This year, the Austin airport is among 13 winners recognized nationally.

The Terminal East Infill Project was completed in July 2015 with the opening of a new six lane passenger security checkpoint. This created a new connection from the east ticket lobby to the concourse at approximately Gate 5. In December 2014, the lower level of the project was completed. This provided a new Customs facility that is larger and more efficient. The Terminal East Infill Project added approximately 56,700 square feet to the terminal and renovated approximately 17,000 square feet of the existing terminal. This included adding two luggage carousels to bag claim.

The ceiling of the hall is articulated with a fully expressed structure of slender steel beams organized along a central longitudinal spine and radiating outward in response to the oval shape of the room. The beams are deeper in the center, reaching more than seven feet in height, and taper toward the edges creating a graceful belly at mid-span of the hall.  At the building perimeter, the beams merge with columns, extending down the facade as slender blades that double as important sunshades.  The Austin airport’s East Terminal Infill Project is an exemplary use of steel in architecture.

"These projects and the creative people behind them showcase the beauty and usefulness of structural steel," comments Charlie Carter, president of AISC.

A panel of design and construction industry professionals identified National and Merit winners in three categories, based on total constructed value: The Austin airport was recognized with a National Award in the category of projects ranging from $15 million to $75 million.

Chosen from nearly 100 submissions, the projects are evaluated on their use of structural steel from both an architectural and structural engineering perspective, with an emphasis on: creative solutions to the project's program requirements; applications of innovative design approaches in areas such as connections, gravity systems, lateral load resisting systems, fire protection and blast; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of the steel; and the use of innovative design and construction methods. The program also recognizes the importance of teamwork, coordination, and collaboration in fostering successful construction projects. Austin’s airport Terminal East Infill Project team includes: the City of Austin Department of Aviation, design/builder Hensel Phelps, design firm Page, structural engineers Architectural Engineers Collaborative (AEC), steel fabricator Hirschfeld Industries, and steel erector Patriot Erectors.

“Simple structural form, appropriate member shape and size, connections with visual clarity—all in response to the functional demands of gravity and lateral load—these are the principles of beautiful structure,” notes Chuck Naeve, P.E., Founding Principal of AEC.

“Steel has an extraordinary history in creating great transportation hubs like the vast trains stations of Europe in the 19th century and a number of dramatic airports in the 20th century,” notes Page Senior Design Principal Larry Speck. “We knew from the beginning of the design process for this project that it should revel in the muscular expressive potential of steel. We wanted this big entry portal for the airport to be clean, open, simple, and filled with lots of natural light. The strong, elegant steel frame was an essential part of making that happen.”