BWI Airport: International Terminal

Baltimore, MD

Close Up

  • Engineer

    William Nicholas Boudova & Associates

  • Façade Consultant

    Gordon H. Smith Corporation

  • GC

    Omni Corporation

  • Completion


  • Building Type


  • Façade Area

    Complete design/build enclosure ackage including space truss structural system and custom cladding system in glass and metal panels

  • Glass

    1 inch insulated glass units with low-e coating




The Governor William Donald Schaefer International Terminal — or Concourse E — provides international services to the airport’s 21 million annual commercial passengers. The terminal also serves as a post for active 
services troops flying into and out of worldwide destinations.

An exposed space truss structural system defines the building enclosure and integrates structure and cladding. The space truss is a prefabricated component system that was fabricated in France and shipped to the site for assembly by Enclos field operations crews. A kind of three-dimensional truss, the highly efficient space truss can accommodate long spans and thus minimizes the need for interior columns. The firm has completed several major space truss installations over the years, including the Long Beach Arena, a pyramid structure some 360 feet along the base edge and as tall as an 18-story building — all with no interior columns. The unique structural technology presents equally unique challenges on the building site, where thousands of varying structural part types must be inventoried and managed. Typically, subassemblies are completed on the ground and hoisted by crane into position where they are secured to adjoining subassemblies. The inherent stability of the triangulated space truss minimizes or eliminates any requirement for shoring during the erection process.

The design team developed a custom cladding system that is supported at the space truss nodes. An extensive use of glass in the facade walls and roof accommodates day-lighting as a sustainable design feature of the enclosure, minimizing the requirement for artificial lighting and the associated energy cost.