Redesigning an Airport Terminal

Since most of use are stuck at home debating which plane we like the best, I thought it would be nice to show a video I came across. Peter Ruggiero has redesigned a lot of large airports from the ground up. Many of these airports were built in the 60s when air traffic was not as busy.

It is interesting to see what they think about when designing the layout of the terminal. Traffic patterns, roadblocks, etc. Remote terminals like Denver and CVG vs close like DFW, etc. Peter does a great job showing these elements and gives you something to think about when you are in a terminal.



Ooh! I will give this a watch. Thank you @Chris_S!

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I found this video a couple of weeks a couple of weeks ago and I highly recommend watching it! As someone who is interested in both aviation and architecture it was very interesting.


I watched this when it first came out March 11th, 2020 to be exact. It was very intriguing and I learned a lot from it.

Maybe the rest of US Airports could learn from this ;)


That’s fascinating.

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This guy’s design has created one of the best airports in the U.S. and truthfully one of the most revolutionary redesigns of any airport, especially compared to the old LGA.

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that’s beautiful

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This was a pretty neat video. I think one of the things that I took out of this was the psychological aspect and how it plays a major role in airport development or redevelopment in this case. All of this in addition to practicality perspectives when redesigning an airport. Practical come from the point where airport officials are looking to boost passenger and aircraft movement efficiencies. For the longest time, that was all that I knew, understood and recognized.

But after watching this, it all make sense now. I often forget how crucial the design and concepts of a terminal and airport layout as a whole have an impact on passengers. Everything from the window visibility, short walks from door, to kiosk, to security to gate, to the delineations in the flooring, it all plays a role in easing passenger travel stresses. A lot of it is mental and it truly takes someone special to understand that aspect and build a miniature city with that mentality.

Pretty snazzy stuff. I enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing Chris!


Great video! I notice some similarities between the designs mentioned in this video and how they were implemented into my home airport. I’m personally not a fan of how the restaurants were rather thrown into the middle of the building. The idea of tables was apparently thrown out the window. Which isn’t that bad for the passengers enjoying some Chili’s considering the gate lounge areas can be empty. The centralized security checkpoint is a great idea, but the problem is is that you’re then fed through a narrow hallway to get to your concourse, which will become even narrower with the new Delta Sky Lounge (it’s either them or United, I forgot, maybe both).

Let me tell you about a cool feature that’ll fix your long lines spewing into the corridors. A food court! Nashville Airport has one in Concourse C. Concourse C bends at a near 90° angle to allow more aircraft to fit in, like so:

But do you see that little area at the angle? That’s the food court. The design behind this is amazing: vendors and lines would not be in the way of passengers, AND the hallway can serve as a shortcut from the later gates to the terminal.

Pavilion concourses are a favorite of mine, most of the time. The open environment can allow for easy access from the gate to the terminal to the restaurants. This is where Nashville Airport fails. Concourse A is home to BNA’s Spirit, United, and British Airways flights. That’s a lot of traffic. Now, do you want to know the fun part? Concourse A’s building can be as narrow as 25 feet and the hallways never exceed 15 feet. The gate lounge areas are always full. Always. People are left with no other option but to park themselves along the wall of the corridor, or relax in a different concourse altogether. Thank heavens it’s getting destroyed in 2023 (but we’ll still miss the carpet). I still like the long, conventional concourses that you can find in Denver Atlanta, and Washington-Dulles.

Speaking of Dulles, it’s got its own issues despite being one of my favorite airports. Passengers who have visited IAD should know about the long walk to get to the trains. You have to walk through some long, empty hallways to find the station for the main terminal, but at least they have moving walkways and some nice designs. I’d love for them to make the station underground in between the two security checkpoints. I just don’t see the whole point in walking that far to the station when the whole point of the train is so you don’t have to walk.

I was lucky enough to visit Istanbul Atatürk in 2014 before it was closed down. Yes, the rumors are true, that place is always packed. Atatürk has too much stuff going on in one place; you had your food court, your smoking lounge, and your duty free shops all in one centralized common place. It’s like they forgot about the fact that they needed to have gates because you’ve gotta go find some small hallway that handles just about every international flight they have to offer. It was well over it’s capacity and it showed. There is also a pretty small bottleneck at their three-part security checkpoint. It takes you about 15 minutes to get through and it’s just an organized mess.

Now would you like to know why I hate Frankfurt? What a mess. You will get lost often if it’s your first time there. Not going through a security checkpoint right off the bat can confuse many travelers. You have to walk pretty far to get to your gate, I mean, bus station since everything is remote stands and packed buses. They put the remote in remote stands. Moving walkways can’t be implemented because of how curvy and angled the buildings are. That’s where long concourse buildings have an advantage. You will have to travel far to your gate, but you can either do it on a moving walkway or walking on your own. There’s also a lack of flight information at gates, so you have no idea where to find your flight. Everything is behind a stained glass window in Terminal E, anyway… Plenty of people make the mistake of going through security as soon as they get to their gate, maybe three hours before their flight. There’s one convenience store, and that’s it. You’re trapped. That’s why having security right off the bat allows passengers to go anywhere in the airport they want to without being trapped. But I do like their easy access to the trains that take you into the city and surrounding areas. Apart from the maps which are all in German, it’s a great, easy-to-access station that’ll get you where you need to go.

You really can’t go wrong with baggage claim. It’s easy to place, rarely packed, and simple. If your airport has their baggage claim anywhere else than where it should be, then they’ve got problems.

Great video, I enjoyed learning about the logic going behind the design of an airport terminal.

Did I really just spend an hour writing this?


Practicality and space. That’s what an airport terminal should be all about. Nice to see this philosophy in the ‘new’ LaGuardia. Enlightening indeed.

That’s a very cool video! I’ll watch it!

It’s about time.

hmm. That was an interesting video! Thanks for showing us.

I really found it interesting how much the design relied on the psychological features/aspect of the passengers. It’s fun to see how he talked about the actual designs and see how similar they are to some of my favorite and home airports.

Very interesting video!

I saw this video. Great video make LaGuardia great again.

I saw that video a while ago and it was great

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