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Latest images show that Portland’s new terminal will be green and impressive


Design firm ZGF Architects has released some more design images of the planned new $1.5 billion terminal at Portland International Airport.

Building on a long history of work at Portland International Airport (PDX), ZGF is designing a new main terminal that will double the existing footprint and create capacity for 35 million passengers by 2045 – all while celebrating the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Like many airports across the country, PDX sought upgrades to accommodate evolving traveller and airline needs and increase capacity for the future.

According to ZGF, a sophisticated phasing strategy ensures that while expanding to the west and creating more space for travellers, PDX will remain fully operational during all stages of construction.

ZGF reveals that the new terminal design invites passengers and airport employees alike to take a walk in the forest, stating that its “stunning wooden roof” will recall the Oregon’s history of forest product innovation with regionally and sustainably sourced wood.

The canopy’s curved shape will be penetrated by Y-shaped columns to allow natural variation in daylight reminiscent of a dappled forest floor when the terminal opens in 2025.

“Interior landscaping, biophilic strategies, and sustainable materials create moments of surprise and joy in an environment designed to reduce stress,” says ZGF.

The new images follow those released when Portland International Airport (PDX) celebrated its 80th anniversary late last year.

PDX operator, the Port of Portland, has no doubt that the new terminal and other planned projects will ensure that the Oregon gateway is equipped to meet demand for decades to come.

“We’re taking the airport that has served the region well for the past 80 years and updating and upgrading it,” says chief projects officer, Vince Granato.

“While the space will look and feel different, we are keeping the heart and soul of the airport that Portlanders know and love – easy to navigate; bright, open spaces; and local shops and restaurants – it will still feel like home.”

The Port’s goals with the design of the new terminal include a focus on health, wellbeing and safety for all visitors and travellers.

According to the airport, the new terminal’s nature-infused interiors, earthquake-resilient structure and expanded spaces give PDX the flexibility to adapt to new technologies and welcome the growing number of passengers expected in the coming decades.

With forests covering nearly half the state of Oregon, the Cascades stretching north and south and a sweeping coastline, nature is everywhere, notes ZGF, whose architects are bringing elements of the great outdoors to PDX through features such as the regionally and sustainably sourced wooden roof with skylights that will stretch across the expanded lobby and ticket areas.

In addition, the interior spaces will incorporate more greenery and living plants.

ZGF adds: “Much of the design for the new main terminal takes inspiration from the human-friendly scale of Portland’s city blocks and favourite neighbourhoods. Expect to see independent storefronts clustered together along a tree-lined ‘street and cafe seating spilling out onto ‘sidewalks’.

“Along with having the new main terminal design inspired by enjoyable spaces in the region, the people building the airport reflect the diversity of our region.”

The Port is committed to supporting small and minority-owned businesses and being a good environmental steward.

As a result, the project will be tracking goals and targets specific to small-business involvement and aims to provide 20% of hard construction costs to certified firms.

And, while the new main terminal will give travellers more space, it will come with an important reduction: when complete, PDX will use 50% less energy per square foot while doubling the size of the building.

From start to finish, constructing the new main terminal and welcoming passengers into the new space will take about five years.

Quick Facts

The new main terminal for PDX is one of five major projects that falls under the umbrella of the airport’s capital improvement programme – PDX Next.

New Main Terminal

Budget: $1.5 billion
Expected Completion: Spring 2025
Additional Sq. Footage: Approximately 175,000 sq. ft.
New concession spaces: 20
Bragging Rights: In addition to the five new spaces recently commissioned for artwork throughout the airport, the new main terminal will create more space for public art.
Upcoming Milestone: Raising the roof, new roof installation of main terminal begins in  2022

The other projects under the PDX Next programme include the recently opened Concourse E, a new Concourse B set to open in the autumn of 2021, parking additions and a new rental car complex.

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