It's A "Steel" Of An Award For ABIA Terminal East Infill

The jury of the 2017 IDEAS² Steel-Frame Building Design Awards must surely have had the same reaction as airport passengers when they viewed the entry for the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Terminal East Infill project: a reaction that encouraged them to bestow a National Award on the project. The award was announced at the annual American Institute of Steel Construction “NASCC: The Steel Conference” in San Antonio, Texas. The following day, the Project Manager, Page Associate Principal Paul Bielamowicz, AIA, co-presented the project with Structural Engineer Richard Liu, PE, from Architectural Engineers Collaborative, which was part of the project team.

The existing terminal at ABIA is a celebration of exposed steel structure. The design/build team sought to expand upon this exposed steel motif in the new Terminal East Infill project, employing an organic lattice of custom, built-up steel sections that both complement the existing facility and furnish the new space with an exciting, modern expression.

The first thing in the main hall that passengers often notice - and comment on - is the soaring aesthetic of the hall's high roof.  It is supported by an elegantly designed, "two-way" roof system in which loads are distributed in both the short- and long-span directions, with the beams sized according to the moment diagram of forces that they support.  These loads are carried by a perimeter ring of fin-shaped column elements around the perimeter, that double as vertical shading from low sun angles. The steel system creates a lightness that belies the robust structural work it is performing. 

Paul and Richard described to NASCC attendees how the project team overcame design challenges such as accommodation of air conditioning and sprinklers in the visually airy design of the main hall roof, and cantilevered support of the curved plate girders. The technically sophisticated audience asked several thoughtful and observant questions, and the attendees were very complimentary of the presentation. 

Page and AEC are appreciative of the recognition that AISC and the NASCC Steel Conference gave this civic project that marks the beginning of many journeys for Austinites and welcomes visitors to the city.