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Miller Hull Partnership and Woods Bagot expand SEA airport with sculptural timber pillar

United States Architecture News - May 17, 2022 - 14:21   2002 views

Miller Hull Partnership and Woods Bagot expand SEA airport with sculptural timber pillar

The Miller Hull Partnership and Woods Bagot have revealed design for a new expansion at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), featuring a sculptural timber pillar that will rise up within the space. 

The new expansion is developed with the Port of Seattlewhich owns and operates SEA and the company is working to be the greenest and most energy efficient port in North America, prioritizing the health and well-being of travelers and the environment. 

Named, C Concourse Expansion (CCE), the project is designed to a celebration of the Pacific Northwest, in which the inspiration comes from the materials and key elements of the Pacific Northwest. 

The expansion is distinguished with a central pillar and grand stairs clad in locally sourced Douglas fir. The design's sculptural properties incorporate geometries shapes, curves and fractals emanate.

The project emerges as a sustainable design, and a rethought approach compared to traditional terminal offerings and is aimed to enhance passengers’ experience, according to the studios.

Miller Hull Partnership and Woods Bagot expand SEA airport with sculptural timber pillar

The studios are working closely with the Port of Seattle, the collaborative design team reimagines the major concourse through a distinct sense of place, performance, and partnership. 

"We have a clear vision for how the airport will look, feel, and function in the coming years," said SEA Managing Director Lance Lyttle. 

"Making your experience less stressful and more predictable is at the center of our vision. You can feel the difference now at the newly modernized N Concourse and soon to open International Arrivals Facility. The C Concourse Expansion is what’s next in how SEA serves travelers, and we can’t wait," Lyttle added.

The foregrounding the concept is derived from the motto of “Bringing in, seeing out,” the expansion will be part of the surrounding context and connect back to the regional landscape. 

"The C Concourse Expansion will bring much-needed light, air, and passenger amenities to one of the busiest crossroads in the terminal. The new building was designed to bring back the excitement of flight with soaring interior volumes of space and multiple outdoor observation decks that reconnect us to the magic of travel and the iconic mountain and sound views that define the Pacific Northwest," said Brian Court, Lead Designer and Partner at Miller Hull.  

To achieve this, the studios added a key feature that can create a performative exterior envelope inspired by the forest and the frame. 

"Just as in nature, where the forest protects from the sun, the building’s shell modulates light and collects energy," stated a press release.

"The new C Concourse Expansion for SEA is an inspiring gathering place that is a destination in and of itself. This ambitious project intertwines the very best aspects of placemaking, sustainability, and signature architecture," said Matt Ducharme, Woods Bagot's Principal and West Coast Design Leader. 

"The expansion for SEA has many distinct attributes, but its grand stairs and focal pillar clad in locally sourced Douglas fir–from which sculptural geometries like curves and fractals emanate–are two emblematic features that succinctly convey the project's leading-edge take on contextual design," Ducharme added.

The design is inspired by the Pacific Northwest, and the interior becomes an interplay of environments that is defined by both the local energy and a connection to the natural landscape. 

The team design more active public spaces to reflect the textures and activities of the famous markets in Seattle and the region. 

A marketplace sits at the center of the concourse with a bar and retail kiosks that frame an open seating area that is also defined by a busker stage for local musicians. 

This stage also faces the Grand Stairs, which provides an activated connection to the restaurants at the mezzanine level. 

C Concourse Expansion is the first project being part of the Port of Seattle’s new Sustainable Project Framework and sets the precedent for all future capital projects. 

Miller Hull Partnership and Woods Bagot expand SEA airport with sculptural timber pillar

Other sustainable features will include rooftop photovoltaics, fossil fuel free systems for heating and hot water, electrochromatic glazing for windows, dishwashing capabilities for vendors reducing the need for disposal dishware, as well as embodied carbon reduction strategies, low-flow water fixtures, and biophilic design principles. 

"The Pacific Northwest is defined by the varied natural landscapes of the Cascades," stated the team. 

Inspired by the concept of “Bringing in, seeing out,” Miller Hull and Woods Bagot’s SEA C Concourse Expansion brings an authentic, sustainable, and deeply memorable passenger experience to the Pacific Northwest’s largest and fastest-growing airport.

Initial construction is planned to begin the summer of 2022 with major construction beginning in mid-2023. 

The project is expected to be completed in 2027.

The Miller Hull Partnership, founded in 1977 by David Miller and Robert hull, is an internationally recognized architecture, planning, urban and interior design firm that designs dynamic and ecologically responsible buildings, working to create a regenerative and inclusive future through the built environment.

Founded in 1869, Woods Bagot's portfolio spans design, research, data, and performance to create People Architecture. Woods Bagot has 17 studios across 6 regions.

Project facts

Owner: Port of Seattle

Projected Completion: 2027

Architects: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP and  Woods Bagot 

Structural/Civil Engineering: MKA 

Mechanical/Plumbing Engineering & Sustainability: PAE

Electrical Engineering, Smoke Control Airfield & Logistics: Arup

Airport Dining and Retail Consultant: AirProjects

IT, Communications & Security: Moye Consulting

Wayfinding & Signage: Mayer Reed

Lighting Design: Dark Light

Acoustics & Vertical Transportation: Greenbusch

Geotechnical Engineering: Hart Crowser

Cost Advice: Cumming

Code Compliance & Fire Protection: Jensen Hughes

Accessibility/ADA: Code Unlimited 

BIM: Autoscan 

Site Investigations & Surveying: Holt Services

General Contractor and Construction Manager: Turner Construction Company 

All images courtesy of Woods Bagot and The Miller Hull Partnership.

> via Woods Bagot & The Miller Hull Partnership