“We have a diverse group of passengers who use Terminal E, the international arrivals and departures hall, and we cater to their needs,” Luciana Burdi, Massport’s director of capital programs and environment, said in a recent interview at the new facility. I’ve been working hard for this,” he said. . “There are people who like to work and do what I call cocooning. But we also have a sensory room to help calm people who have high flight anxiety. An airplane simulation room that recreates the experience of flying. There is also.”
The qualification requirements for Massport’s $800 million project called for a “visionary” architect, and the person who took on the role was Luis Vidal + Architects of madrid. The company’s founder, Vidal, has designed airports throughout Europe and the Western Hemisphere, from Barcelona to Pittsburgh to Santiago, Chile. Terminal E’s bright red exterior, which resembles the sheetmetal of a new Ferrari, was a big decision by the architect, but he insisted it was created in the Boston context.
“Red is very Boston,” Vidal said during last month’s tour. “Universities like Harvard and MIT are red. Brick buildings in cities are red. Sports teams are red, and even the leaves on trees turn red in the fall. All of this makes us think of static colors. This inspired me to choose colors that are dynamic and free of color.”
Computer imaging, which had not yet been invented in Saarinen’s time, made this seemingly free form possible. Vidal, who collaborated on the project with international firm AECOM as architect of record, explained the genesis of the design: “The shape came from both the site and the program. There are no right angles. Passenger flow helped determine the form. ” and is flooded with light from skylights and clerestory windows. ”
The Great Hall is truly spectacular. This represents a phenomenon that architects call “compression and expansion.” As you walk along the narrow spaces of the older part of the terminal, you can see the Great Hall in the distance. Upon arrival, the entire height of the space will be revealed and fully legible. A large V-shaped concrete and steel truss reveals the structure of the building. Two parallel curved “streets” provide a variety of amenities for passengers departing Boston. Like a great Edwardian train station, the space is full of life. Approximately 70,000 square feet of the existing Terminal E was salvaged and renovated, including the main hallway leading to the Great Hall. The new building will be 320,000 square feet.
Full of delicate creative touches. The staircase leading to the Airline Club level is in the heart of the Great Hall, rather than hidden in a dark corner. The terrazzo flooring has an interesting pattern that ties in with Logan’s Terminal A flooring.
The building is slated to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification and will include a number of environmentally friendly features. First, the building’s orientation is designed to capture the most northerly light, thereby reducing the need for interior lighting. There are also solar-powered glasses that generate electricity.
About $50 million of the terminal’s cost came from the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill passed in 2021, Massport’s Bourdy said. Did taxpayers receive their money’s worth?
I think they were. But one of my regrets about this project is that the main space inside, the Great Hall, serves people leaving Boston, not people arriving in Boston. I recently had the opportunity to experience the terminal as a traveler returning from Europe. In fact, the passport control space is low-ceilinged and uncomfortable, a stark contrast to the large hall with its towering spaces.
The buildings created by Saarinen belonged to a more innocent era, full of optimism and wonder. We now live in a more complex world. The new Terminal E reflects this, while also reminding us of the exhilarating infatuation with flight that existed three generations ago.
James McCown is an architecture journalist who lives in Newton.Rizzoli New York will publish his work. “Rethinking the Home Office: A Place to Think, Reflect, Work, Dream and Wonder” will be held early next year.