FabriTec Structures has started construction on the 864 ft long transparent ETFE canopies at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This marks the beginning of what will be one of the largest ETFE canopies in the world when it is completed in 2019.
The purpose of these massive ETFE structures is to provide airport guests with shelter from the inclement weather and harmful sun rays while preserving the landscape’s natural light and beauty.
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the most traveled airport in the world and with the prestigious title comes the obligation to provide its anticipated 100 million travelers a year with a pleasant experience. With ATL being so busy, they had to plan for high volumes of traffic, both inside and outside the airport. To better accomplish this, a $6 billion 20-year expansion plan was put into action not only to alleviate traffic but to also make navigating the terminal more accommodating and visually appealing.
The state-of-the-art canopies were designed to be a grand entrance to the airport and serve as a trademark of modern travel; a symbol of comfort and style that they hope will become synonymous with the airport’s image.
“It’s not just going to be an architectural icon for the city of Atlanta,” said Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Andrew Gobeil. “It’s going to increase efficiency, it’s going to expedite traffic, it’s going to provide shelter”.
The airport plans to add a pedestrian bridge that will allow its visitors to safely walk from the top level of the parking garage to the inside of the second floor of the airport. With that in mind the canopies had to be 65-feet tall, so the opening would be high enough to accommodate both large emergency vehicles that would pass beneath the bridge and pedestrians walking on it.
“While a basic lightweight fabric canopy may appear simple and inexpensive to install,” Breidenthal said, “it could be more costly and complex than it seems because the fabric would need to be held taut across the seven lanes of traffic and would need to be anchored to a structure added to the existing buildings.”
Using highly-efficient ETFE film instead of glass will be beneficial to the project in a few ways. With
significantly less weight and a well-thought-out design, the canopies can be constructed without any additional support structures. This will save time and resources while also allowing traffic to move more freely on an already congested airport curbside.
Another benefit of using ETFE film as an energy-efficient cladding system is that airport guests will get to enjoy the natural sunlight and atmosphere of the outdoors through the canopy then watch it light up at night; all under the protection of this attractive yet sturdy material.
The new entrance canopies and other terminal improvements are part of a $265 million construction contract that will be carried out this year. The contract includes FabriTec’s work on the canopies along with the vestibules and terminal exterior and other interior work on the terminal as well as the roof. FabriTec Structures will be making another grand entrance canopy at Rochester International Airport.