Fentress Architects designed the new terminal built as part of the renovation and expansion program of the Charleston International Airport (CHS) in South Carolina.

A major highlight of the terminal is a 20,000 lbs. steel dome structure, 32 feet in diameter, which was recently erected as part of the renovation and expansion of the airport’s ‘Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program’ (TRIP).

The new terminal is part of a master plan to expand the building’s capacity to accommodate a dramatic increase in passenger traffic, with the work involving complete renovation of all existing areas and building systems that have exceeded their useful life.

Having set a new passenger record last year with nearly 2.9 million passengers, the airport, after the expansion and renovation will be able to process four million passengers annually.

Designed by Fentress Architects in association with Watson Tate Savory Liollio, the new terminal project adds five new gates to the current 10 gates. The new design provides a visual connection from the kerbside to the ticketing and bag claim while a 25-foot-tall central hall featuring a floor-to-ceiling glass curtainwall will provide a view from the main entry through to the tarmac and the airplanes.

New features in the renovated terminal building will include a central hall lined with retail and a new two-story glass wall facing the airfield; new seating areas, restrooms, and retail shopping in Concourses A and B; a new consolidated security checkpoint, baggage handling area, and central energy plant; and a new rental car facility.

Fentress Architects design principal Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA explained that the new terminal was inspired by the unique cultural geography of the area. The design therefore is polished and modern, while capturing the unique southern sense of openness and warmth.

Expected to be completed in the fall of 2015, the $162 million makeover consisting of a modernised terminal and concourses will reduce wait times and crowding, while also enhancing the passenger experience and increasing economic activity.

Fentress Architects is known for the design of the Denver International Airport, USA’s fifth busiest airport with 53 million passengers annually. The firm has since designed several other aviation projects, including South Korea’s Incheon International, which was recently named World’s Best Airport by SKYTRAX, and the modernised Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX as well as several acclaimed regional airports including Raleigh-Durham International Airport (9 million passengers annually) and the new Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport (4.5 million passengers annually).