The new terminal at Kansas City International Airport is a state-of-the-art travel hub that will be the largest single infrastructure project in the city’s history. Designed, planned, and engineered by SOM, the project will transform the existing airport, adding a one-million-square-foot single terminal that embodies the city’s identity as a growing center of technology and innovation. It will replace Kansas City’s existing facilities, built in 1972, with a 39-gate complex designed with the flexibility to expand to 50 gates in the future.
The new terminal will feature a fountain that echoes the iconic centerpiece of the city’s 1914 Union Station. The entrance is a grand and transparent space sheltered by a generous overhang, with a glass facade and structurally expressed Y-columns. Retail spaces and two concourses will step down toward a human scale. The rhythmic expression of the steel structural system is balanced by a natural wood inlay, adding warmth and creating inviting spaces for passengers. Outdoor waiting areas will open up to the surrounding natural landscape to offer calming places for respite.
Rather than a sprawling terminal that would be difficult to navigate, the design emphasizes quick and seamless connections with a compact layout. Walking distances are kept to a minimum, with check-in and security consolidated into one space. 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. The entire airport is easily walkable—one of the design’s many sustainability features. The new terminal is targeting LEED® Gold certification with a design strategy that brings in ample natural light, maximizes the window-to-wall ratio, and uses natural materials.