The 'hand-made, mind-made' airport

Thursday 30 Aug 2012

Fentress Architects designs airport as a gateway to North Carolina

The decision to redevelop Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport was prompted by a mix of factors, including shifts in travel patterns, carrier operations, and technological innovations that allowed advancements that better serve North Carolina's innovative Research Triangle Park region while respecting the state's aesthetic and economic heritage. Designing and constructing Terminal 2 included the large scale and complex task of maintaining a fully operational airport environment throughout all phases of construction.

North Carolina is a place that stays with you, the beauty of the rolling Piedmont hills, the heritage of fine craftsmanship and a welcoming Southern hospitality. This region is also home to some of the world's most innovative research facilities: The Research Triangle Park (RTP). Situated between Duke University, North Carolina State University and The University of North Carolina, RTP fosters a culture of scientific advancement. Using these elements, the design theme 'hand-made and mind-made' creates a sense of place and symbolises the airport as a gateway to North Carolina and the region.

The Piedmont hills inspired the terminal's rolling roof form, while the laminated wood beams that arch overhead pay homage to the craft industries and wooded countryside. An innovative steel and wood lenticular truss system was chosen, which included large glued-laminated timbers and structural steel cables connected with fabricated steel pieces at the ends and a king-post at mid-span to form a propped tied arch. Other major materials included terrazzo flooring and glass curtainwalls. Clerestories allow abundant natural light, providing for a pleasurable passenger experience. The airport was designed to meet LEED certification standards.

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