Terri Meyer Boake BES BArch MArch LEED AP
Associate Professor :: Associate Director :: School of Architecture :: University of Waterloo

Baltimore Washington International Airport

3 spaces -- 3 steel structural systems

2004/5 Addition

Baltimore, Maryland


Project Information:

Travelling around the world, it is difficult not to come across steel, used in very expressive, exposed and innovative ways, in airports. Airport architecture has developed a language of architecturally exposed steel design that has both maintained its contemporary look, as well as changed to keep up with architectural style, throughout the past 20 or 30 years. The design of Baltimore Washington International is a good example of such change.

The terminal is presently undergoing expansion. The central part of the terminal, the original portion, used a proprietary spaceframe system to define its main structure. The international departures addition (pictured above) used a similar, but upgraded, spaceframe system, and modified the spatial qualities of this portion of the terminal through its use. The current 2004/5 expansion has switch to structural HSS tube members to define its architecture and structure.

The steel for this expansion would have been designed to standards for Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) as defined by the American Institute of Steel Construction. For more information on AESS guidelines that would govern US construction, please refer to:

Modern Steel Construction, May 2003
AESS Guide Specification

international departures wing
central terminal portion

Project Images: 2004/5 addition

Exterior view curbside of the new addition. The main terminal structure is complete (September 2004) and glazing operations are underway.
The primary supports (white) are comprised of 4 tubes that comprise an inverted pyramid shape -- the top splayed to accept the spanning truss (grey).

View of the top of the vertical support as it sits behind the structural glass wall (in progress) and attaches to the roof truss framing.
View the tubes as they connect at mid height. AESS priorities can be seen here as all joints are welded and appear to be ground smooth.

The cantilevered truss extensions that support the canopy over the drop off area are tapered to reflect their structural load requirements.
This tapered square truss connects back to the pyramidal support truss/column and beyond to span unsupported across the interior of the terminal.
Additional canopies over passenger waiting (taxi) areas are under construction.
A canopy comprised of round HSS members surmounts these shaped steel supporting members.
The relationship between the canopy and the new end of the terminal can be seen.
Close up view of canopy showing varying connections -- welds at the top and bolted connections at the base.
The yellow writing represents mark-ups on the steel to guide the crew.
The crew is working on grinding operations, filing down any irregularities to meet with AESS specifications.

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These images are for educational use only and may not be reproduced commercially without written permission. tboake@sympatico.ca

Updated September 25, 2005