Currently, the Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) of South Carolina is underway with a massive renovation and expansion of its facilities. This is due to the acquisition of Southwest Airlines to their list of supporting airlines. GSP is expecting to double its amount of travelers by the year 2020. With the added expectation that this number will only increase as time goes on.
The challenge proposed to our studio was to design an airport renovation and expansion with the aid of plans provided to us by the airport commission.
In 2001, Betchel Inc. proposed an expansion plan [right] which many of the future plans for this expansion are incorporating. This included the addition of a second runway to aid in the decrease of delays and backed-up runways. A good note to mention is that Greer, South Carolina which is less than ten miles away just construction a BMW plant. This surplus of cargo flights, not including the already in place flights from Michelin Tires Inc. will provide the airport with much needed control over the amount of flights departing and arriving at the airport.
Thus, the need for a large capacity airport is imminent.
My partner Carson Nolan and I devised a phasing program that would allow GSP to stay in operation while still in the construction phase. This phasing is in parallel with the addition of the second runway.
The airport currently is not efficient. The ticketing and baggage claim are on the entrance level which is directly of the street. The queue lines for the ticketing booths are very short that during peak hours jam up with an overabundance of passengers. Once a person has received their ticket they move up a flight of stairs/escalators to the second floor, where the concessions and security are located. Once through security the passenger once again ascends a flight of stairs/escalators to the concourse level. This means of ascension through multiple levels limits the efficiency of the airport, especially if the estimated growth comes to fruition.
Thus, my partner and I decided to created a departure terminal and then another separate arrivals terminal. The departures terminal would have ticketing and security on one level, then the passengers would ascend one double high flight of escalators to the concourse which would aid in the elimination of congestion [see longitudinal section]. Also, all the concessions and restaurant are moved post-security to maximize the profit for the airport and added comfort for the flight patrons. The arrivals terminal would be the mirror image of the departures, with the dissension of a double high escalator to the baggage claim and car rental.
Our “L” shape design was born due the to connection of the second runway. This large taxi-way between the two runways will maximize the output and input of flights in a more efficient manner.
When time came to devise a unique structure that would aesthetically please the users of this facility and also aid in calming the apprehension that the passengers feel before a flight, the thought of the procession upon arrival to the airport was what came to mind. This arrival consists of the airport roads lined with hundreds of trees and greenery. This effect returns the passengers to their roots....nature. Thus, I designed a structure that consisted of clusters of columns that flowed into the roof grid, creating an immense, yet gratifying canopy. With the inclusion of opaque, translucent, and transparent panels that covered this undulating, wavy, and carpet like grid, the presence within the terminal is being within a forest.
The entire structure consists of glue-laminent beam/columns with steel connection pieces and steel rod shear reinforcement.
The exterior wall is completely glazed to allow the penetration of natural light, but metal louvers line this curtain wall to diffuse the light so as not to receive excess amounts of heat radiation. This curtain wall is also reinforced by vertical glass fins that provide shear strength due to lateral wind forces. These are glass units so as to not deteriorate the vertical power of the column clusters.
Status: School Project
Location: Greer, SC, US