Originally, built in 1958, Dallas’ Love Field Airport recently has been undergoing updates and improvements with major renovations currently in the design phase. Dan Hursin, senior architect at Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M HILL/Lockwood Greene, was kickoff for a major overhaul of the entire airport. “The most pressing need was the old baggage-claim system,” Hursin says. “It was outdated, undersized and had a lot of mechanical problems.”
Credit: ARMSTRONG CEILINGS
After a 15-month, $9.7 million construction project, Love Field Airport now boasts an updated baggage-claim area with a sleek, undulating metal ceiling that’s 300-feet (91-m) long by 62-feet (19-m) wide and incorporates a great deal of natural light. The renovation, which was completed in March 2007, earned metalmag’s 2007 Architectural Award in the Interiors category.
Scott Kriner, LEED AP, president of Macungie, Pa.-based Green Metal Consulting, served as one of the judges for the metalmag Architectural Awards competition. Kriner found the soft lines and flowing effect of the curved ceiling panels to be appealing and appropriate for an airport. “The unique look of the ceiling system was what caught my eye,” he says. “The symbolism of these ‘waves’ blowing in the wind reminded me of clouds, which fit nicely with an airport environment.”
Mark Engle, executive vice president of the Glenview, Ill.-based Metal Construction Association, also served as a judge. “This project stood out for its beauty and the continuity in the use of metal,” Engle recalls. “Metal is woven throughout the airport, starting with its curbside appeal and blending in with the actual aircraft. This baggage-claim area fits with the overall message of the strong yet appealing chosen to head the renovation of Love Field Airport’s baggage-claim facilities, the contour of metal.”
Hursin and his team chose a metal-ceiling system for the space to meet their design aspirations. “When designing the ceiling, aesthetics was a prime consideration, as was durability and ease of maintenance,” he recalls. “We required a ceiling material that offered relatively easy installation and a great degree of flexibility because of the range of radii needed to implement our design.”
To avoid tearing down the entire structure, curves had to work around existing ductwork, accounting for the perpendicular beams that were part of the existing steel system. With help from 3-D perspectives, Hursin was able to integrate the diagonal beams of the existing framing system with the ceiling design, creating a cohesive, seamless feel. Instead of the previous 8 1/2-foot (3-m) gypsum ceiling, the updated metal ceiling ranges in height from 8 to 21 feet (2.4 to 6.4 m). This creates a brighter, more open interior.
There were many obstacles involved in completing the project. Not only were there technical issues, such as raising the ceiling, integrating the existing framing system and working with the ductwork, but there also were operational concerns, including working around passengers who still were claiming luggage in the area. “The biggest challenge was doing all this while there still were flights going in and out every day,” Hursin says. “This is a functioning facility. The project involved a lot of nighttime work and working around the clock. We did our work in phases.”
Credit: ARMSTRONG CEILINGS
Completing the renovation involved coordination with everyone working on the project and constant communication with the different airlines involved. “It was a total paradigm shift in the mindset between the architect, aviation department and general contractor,” Hursin explains. “Instead of an adversarial role, we all were on the same page working together in harmony.”
Don Livingston, superintendent with Houston-based Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc., the general contractor on the project, kept a tight schedule and led the coordination of the subcontractors on the site. “The airport worked pretty much around the clock, shutting down only for about five hours per day,” Livingston says. “When Airport Operations called, day or night, they expected you to be there to pick up the phone if construction activities had impacted the passenger access to the baggage-claim area.”
Livingston has worked on airports before, but this project was unique because of the number of people coming through at all hours. “The construction schedule was very critical because of their ongoing flight operations,” Livingston recalls. “We couldn’t block off a section and just work where no one would see us. Some sections could only be worked on for six to eight hours overnight, when the airport was closed. Then we’d have to stop and clean up the area for people to come through before the first flight was scheduled to arrive at the airport. In some areas, we built tunnels to redirect the passengers.”
Throughout the course of the project, safety around the job site was a major focus. “Satterfield & Pontikes is a performance- driven company,” Livingston says. “We take pride in delivering the finished project, but safety is the biggest concern. We had four phases of construction and did risk assessments to make sure the passengers were safe.”
Since the job was completed, the overall feedback from the airport has been very positive. “Terry Mitchell, assistant aviation director of Dallas Love Field Airport, has expressed that the look and feel achieved in the baggage-claim area is the signature look they would like for the rest of the airport,” Hursin says.
Long-term View // The systems used to update the baggage-claim area are low maintenance and energy efficient. The clerestory contains 1-inch- (25-mm-) thick, low-E, high-performance glass that reduces the need for electric lighting by providing natural light to the interior space. Hursin notes that good acoustics was another project objective. The metal ceiling includes an acoustical fleece backing material to improve sound absorption.
“With every decision we made, we had to keep in mind what the building is going to look like 20 years from now,” Hursin explains. “The existing carpet was not durable, so we went with epoxy terrazzo flooring, which basically is a 25-year material. The metal ceiling system is another product that is highly durable. It just needs to be kept clean and dry and will look the same in 25 years.
“It was one of the most technically challenging projects that I have been directly involved with,” Hursin says. “One of the key elements of the success of this project was the clean execution of the metal-ceiling system. It gives the traveling public a sense of awe when they arrive at the baggage- claim area.”
Sheila Phinazee writes about architecture, construction and ornamental metal fabrication from Raleigh, N.C.
Credit: ARMSTRONG CEILINGS
LOVE FIELD AIRPORT BAGGAGE CLAIM, DALLAS
CH2M HILL Lockwood Greene, Dallas, www.ch2m.com
Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Inc., Irving, Texas, www.satpon.com
METAL-CEILING SYSTEM SUPPLIER AND INSTALLER
Southwest Commercial Interiors, Carrollton, Texas, www.scirocks.com
METAL CEILING SYSTEM
MetalWorks Linear Ceiling Contrasts Systems in 4-inch- (102-mm-) wide white aluminum planks with 1-inch- (25-mm-) wide black reveals from Armstrong Ceilings, Lancaster, Pa., www.armstrong.com
Irwin Steel, Justin, Texas, www.irwinsteel.net
CUSTOM STAINLESS STEEL
Creek Construction Inc., Denton, Texas, (940) 387-9718
CUSTOM METAL SOFFIT AND WALL PANELS
Kpostcompany, Dallas, www.kpostcompany.com