Kansas City International Airport’s new 1 million-sf terminal has broken ground. The project, which is designed by SOM, will set a new standard for inclusivity and accessibility.
The 39-gate terminal will have the flexibility to expand to 50 gates in the future. At the entrance, a large overhang, supported by structurally expressed Y columns, and a glass facade will create a grand and transparent space while retail spaces and two concourses will step down toward a human scale. The rhythmic expressed steel structural system is balanced by a natural wood inlay to provide inviting spaces for passengers. Outdoor waiting areas will leverage the site’s surrounding natural landscape to provide a calming space.
The design forgoes creating a sprawling terminal and instead focuses on quick and seamless transitioning with a compact layout: walking distances are kept to a minimum, check-in and security are consolidated into one space, and a dual-level roadway will separate the vehicular traffic between arrivals and departures, with the terminal’s entrance and passenger-parking facilities located on either side to make the entire airport walkable.
The terminal will feature a variety of spaces with the goal of increasing inclusivity and accessibility. A multi-sensory room will provide a quiet and secure place for people with autism, dementia, or sensory processing disorders. An airplane simulation room will help people with anxiety or other conditions that create a fear of flying. This room allows people in experience and fear about air travel through true-to-life objects like a ticketing kiosk, gate door, passenger boarding bridge, and simulated aircraft cabin.
Other inclusivity and accessibility features include a meditation room, a family play zone, all gender restrooms, family restrooms, infant nursing rooms, service animal relief areas, and adult-assist changing rooms.
In addition to SOM, the build team also includes Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate (developer), and Clark | Weitz | Clarkson (design-builder).
The new terminal is targeting LEED Gold certification. The project is slated for completion in 2023.