Articles The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport officially opens

The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, the cornerstone of the future redevelopment of the airport, has opened. Designed by international architecture practice Grimshaw as design architect in partnership with architecture and engineering firm STV as executive architect, the project was delivered as part of a design-build consortium led by Tutor Perini/Parsons JV for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). With a $2.7 billion total program value and $1.4 billion construction value, the project is the largest design-build infrastructure project in New Jersey’s history.

When Newark Metropolitan Airport first opened in October 1928, it was the first major airport serving passengers in the New York and New Jersey Metro Area, and it quickly grew to become the busiest commercial airport in the world. The new one-million-square-foot, 33-gate, Terminal A has been designed to accommodate the over 13.4 million passengers a year who use the airport today while enabling growth in operations and the longer-term vision for the airport.

Given Newark’s status as one of the region’s three major airport gateways, the new Terminal A creates a distinct destination experience for passengers which is specific to the context of its location within New Jersey. The new, three level terminal building replaces the existing Terminal A facility with a light, modern, steel and glass building with vast openness and abundant natural light. The elegant, yet striking design, with its soaring cantilevered roof lines welcoming both departing and arriving passengers, is in continuum with Newark Airport’s modern era legacy style, while establishing a bold new trajectory for the airport’s future.

The Port Authority clearly recognized that a bold plan was needed for Newark to position itself for decades to come and to successfully accommodate a rapidly changing industry undergoing unprecedented levels of growth. With this future in mind, sustainability and energy consciousness were significant aspects of the project’s objectives and as such, Terminal A is designed to meet LEED Silver certification.

“We are delighted to have been part of this extraordinary undertaking and to design a terminal unique to Newark and New Jersey, bold and filled with light, establishing a new and optimistic trajectory for the future of the airport.”

Mark Husser, Partner at Grimshaw.

New Jersey is amongst the sunniest states in the US and light is a consistent theme for the new terminal. Large, diamond shaped skylights and a gently folded, metal ceiling allow filtered daylight throughout the terminal experience. Large, uncluttered façades offer great transparency and views, while efficient linear movement patterns promote intuitive wayfinding through well-directed, open and fluid spaces, radically improving the passenger experience. The new Terminal A is designed to accommodate the highly demanding, functional and safe requirements for passenger processing in a light, warm and enjoyable environment that is spacious and easy to navigate.

The design is additionally inspired by New Jersey’s “Garden State” image, with its expansive geographical variations and unique history of innovation inspiring comfortable and relaxing spaces that relieve stress and passenger anxiety. By providing transparency, uninterrupted sightlines, and by introducing passengers to views of the gates and aircraft early in their journey a clear, unfettered path from entrance to departure gate is clear. Open design in the building’s structure and envelope allows for extensive glazing that reveals to users the changing of seasons, time of day, and connection to the outdoors and natural light throughout the journey.

The design deploys a family of elements focused on passenger perception at each stage of progress. Elements including the drop-off canopy, the sculpted columns, undulating triangular ceiling system, air diffusers and check-in islands are all designed to create a unified architectural language that forms a cohesive and memorable experience. The architecture also works closely in concert with the passenger amenities on offer to provide a holistic identity for the new Terminal A. Artwork from local artists and regionally influenced retail, dining and entertainment offerings, as well as diversified premium services and lounges, provide the airport with a unique identity specific to the New Jersey region.