Miami Int'l Nears Completion of $2.94 Billion North Terminal

Carroll McCormick
Published in: 

Facts & Figures

Project: North Terminal Development

Location: Miami International Airport

Building: 3.5 million sq. ft.

Cost: $2.94 billion

Project Completion: 2011

General Contractor: Parsons Odebrecht Joint Venture

Original Concept/Schematic Design Architect: Corgan Associates

Design Management/Integration & Project Management: Heery-S&G

Program Management/Construction Administration: Heery, Sequeira & Gavarrete

Special Systems Project Manager: Ross & Baruzzini

Construction Documents: Leo A Daly, Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, Wolfberg, Alvarez & Partners, MC Harry, Harpe Partners, Perez & Perez, The Russell, Partners Rodriguez & Quiroga Architects Chartered

Scope: Renovation, expansion & consolidation of Concourses A-D into North Terminal

New Space: 1.8 million sq. ft.

Renovated Space: 1.7 million sq. ft.

Tenents: American Eagle

Benefits: Greater efficiency & passenger throughput

Key Elements: Linear design, swing gates

Noteworthy Detail: 1.6-mile long automated people mover

Skytrain Manufacturer: Sumitomo


Electrical: Dynalectric Co., Fisk Electric Co.

Mechanical: Weathertrol Maintenance Corp., John J Kirlin

Building Management Systems: Honeywell International

Elevators/Escalators: Kone, Schindler

Curtain Wall: Masonry Arts

Roofing: Decktight Roofing Services

Shell: Baker Concrete, Magnum Construction Management

Masonry/Finishes: Merkury Development

Terrazo: David Allen Co.

Finishes: Crompton Construction Co., MAJV, Lotspeich Co., Thornton Construction Co., Allied Contractors & Acousti Engineering Co. of Florida

Specialty Finishes: Environmental Interiors

Metals/Glass: NR Windows

Site General Requirements: Commercial Interiors Contractors, GT Construction

Tower Design: Wolfberg, Alvarez

Miami International Airport is nearing completion of its $2.94 billion transformation of Concourses A through D into the new North Terminal. Along the way, there have been many redevelopment milestones to celebrate: Sixteen more gates were reopened this July, and the full complement of 50 gates is expected to be in operation by next year.

American Eagle's Regional Commuter Facility, complete with 12 hard stands and two full contact gates, officially opened in August. And in September, passengers started using the North Terminal's rooftop Skytrain.

The North Terminal Development (NTD) Program is replacing the previous "finger" concourse configuration with a more efficient, mile-long linear terminal. The work includes 1.8 million square feet of renovated space and 1.9 million square feet of new construction, including a 400,000-square-foot federal inspection facility.

Artistic motifs in the North Terminal floor
include a hurricane.

In addition to adding nine more gates, the NTD Program is, more importantly, doubling passenger capacity and more than doubling aircraft turns per gate. With the finger configuration, gates were restricted to an average 4.5 turns per day; now they can exceed 10 per day.

The North Terminal is currently logging 311 flights a day, but it is designed for 500 - both domestic and international, thanks to new swing gates. With an expanded capacity of nearly 40 million passengers a year, the airport predicts the North Terminal will serve until at least 2030.

To reflect the 21st century reality of passenger security procedures and wait times, pre-security concessions were cut from 14 to eight; post-security concessions increased from 20 to 72.

The Crew

More than 100 architectural/engineering/specialty companies were involved with the NTD Program at various stages of the project. The overall design involved seven major architectural firms. Leo A Daly, for instance, served as prime architect for the A-B Concourse Infill Project and interior fit-out, as well as the fit-out of existing adjacent spaces between Concourses A and B. Daly's consultants included Perez & Perez, Jacobs Engineering, TLC Engineering for Architecture, EAC Consulting, Varley-Campbell & Associates and ARGUS Consulting.

"We worked with other design and program management teams to coordinate a seamless design, and we were given approval on what our part looked like," notes Keith Mawson, director of aviation services, Leo A Daly.

The Daly team worked at least nine years on the project. "Ours was the last project to start; and all the lessons learned, and ever-evolving changes and systems trickled down to us. Technological changes, aircraft evolving ... all this had to be developed on the fly, considering that the design was 11 years old before the build. It was a complete evolution of the process over the years," says Eddie Alvarado, associate-project manager, Leo A Daly.

The original design for the checkpoints - which pre-dated 9/11 and the creation of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration - changed at least three times.

The Challenges

Marrying new structures and old, portions of which dated back 40 or more years, was an ever-present challenge. J. Beattie, senior associate-project architect with Leo A Daly, highlights the importance of the relationship between the two. Leo A Daly's section of the North Terminal interfaced the existing terminal for fully 1,000 feet.

Another challenge was accommodating the rooftop Automated people mover. "Imagine carrying tens of thousands of tons of material over the existing terminal," Beattie notes.

Soaring rotundas were added to create a feeling of openess in the North Terminal.

Odebrecht-Parsons, the project's joint-venture managing general contractor, also identifies challenges associated with joining new and old facilities. "Approximately 50% of construction is on top of an existing terminal building," explains Odebrecht project executive Lucas Prado. "This brought significant challenges associated with integration of systems ... The solution was to face these challenges as a team and cut bureaucratic red tape. For instance, the team implemented tabletop meetings and joint site visits to deal with coordination of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and resolution of conflicts created by unknown existing conditions."

According to Prado, working in an operational terminal was arguably the most

difficult challenge. "We had to comply with a very demanding and fast-paced schedule that required construction to occur within the footprint while surrounded by an existing active terminal and without impacting airport operations," he explains.

MIA's new rooftop automated people mover can transport 9,000 passengers per hour.

NTD program director Juan Carlos Arteaga cites the baggage handling systems (BHS) as another example. "We built a whole new BHS [around the existing system] without touching the existing one," Arteaga says. "Only when the new BHS is ready to go by about the end of February, 2011 - will the old one be demolished."

The Results

Prado recounts many successes during the long project: "All milestones were achieved on or ahead of schedule, many gates were opened ahead of schedule and there were no major disruptions to airport operations."

The project also won the 2010 Best Vertical Transportation award from Southeast Construction magazine for construction and design excellence.

Arteaga focuses on the operational advantages. "Efficiency is the most important design element of the NTD," he notes. The Skytrain, for example, can move 9,000 people an hour. Wayfinding signage and strategic placement of moving sidewalks, escalators and elevators are also expected to aid passenger movement along and between the levels of the new terminal.

Beyond efficiencies, Arteaga recognizes the enhancements that the North Terminal's architecture and design add: "The building is contemporary, with bright architectural features that create the feeling of openness and amplitude. This is accomplished by the use of high ceilings, wide passenger circulation areas and natural light by way of clerestory windows."

Art gracing the public spaces of the North Terminal includes thousands of brass inlays in the terrazzo floors. "There are seashells, starfish, coral ... It all creates an indigenous, local look," says Alvarado.

Although the North Terminal was not originally intended to be LEED certified, the terminal followed various LEED standards in its construction and has been subsequently registered for certification. "The MIA team made a huge effort to select sustainable materials, such as low-VOC products, low-formaldehyde carpets and granite cladding," says Beattie. "We specified and built as sustainable as we could make it: energy-efficient glazing, light-colored roofs - the standard things you would expect to see in LEED."

"We used low-maintenance material, like stainless steel column covers and bases," Alvarado adds.

"It has been a very challenging project," Arteaga acknowledges. "We wanted to do something beautiful, efficient, without grandeur or superfluous architecture."


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