Topping out of the 32 foot, 20,000 lb diameter dome structure has been completed, and the gateway celebrated by attaching a small evergreen tree, a South Carolina flag, and an American flag to it.
It is part of the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Programme (TRIP), that will see the airport’s 28-year old terminal redeveloped, and the new terminal is part of a master plan to expand the building's capacity to accommodate an increase in passenger traffic.
The design team has planned and programmed the building to have a balance of capacity in all of the different processing areas in ticketing, security, gates, baggage claim, and car rental areas.
The airport set a new passenger record last year accommodating nearly 2.9mppa, and the expansion will increase the passenger capacity to 4mppa.
Southwest and JetBlue have recently expanded flight operations to Charleston.
The new terminal project designed by Fentress Architects in association with Watson Tate Savory Liollio, adds five new gates to the current 10, and with the new design, travellers will have a visual connection from the curbside to the ticketing and baggage claim.
The new terminal building will include a central hall lined with retail and a new two-story glass wall facing the airfield, while clearstories will illuminate the terminal with natural light.
Concourses A and B are undergoing a complete renovation, which includes new seating areas, restrooms, retail outlets, and a rental car facility.
Also included are a new consolidated security checkpoint, baggage handling equipment, and central energy plant.
The new terminal is inspired by the cultural geography of the area, and Fentress Architects design principal, Curtis Fentress, who grew up in rural North Carolina, explains: “In Charleston, southern hospitality lives side-by-side with a rich urbanism.
“We wanted to design an airport that was polished and modern, yet captured that unique southern sense of openness and warmth.”
The $162 million makeover is expected to be completed in the fall of 2015, and when finished the modernised terminal and concourses will reduce wait times and crowding, while at the same time, enhancing the passenger experience and increasing economic activity.
Fentress Architects designed Denver International Airport, Incheon International Airport, Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the new Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport.