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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The architecture of Airport terminals is unique in nature as it is linked with a wide range of concerns that go hand in hand to demonstrate the efficient functioning of the building. From an inconvenient mode of travel to the city center to the congestions in the security screening, concerns varying from urban design to systems engineering have an impact on the user experience. Along with these concerns, the spatial organization of the airport terminals accommodates various commercial, leisure, retail, and service-based spaces in addition to the core function of aviation. Where the guiding parameters for determining the spatial requirements are dependent on the projected life span, security restrictions, and other socio-political influences. An airport terminal is bound to maintain a stable balance between all of the above parameters and disruption in any of the above can cause major fluctuations in the performance of the airport terminals. According to the United States department of transportation, federal aviation administration(advisory circular 2014) the initial stages of the design for any existing or new airport are derived from the ‘Master planning report’. This report is comprised of airport layout, environmental studies, analysis of runway orientation, land use plans, activity forecasts, capacity analysis, estimates of facilities, and more. To achieve a balanced environment capable of satisfying the concerns of various institutions it is important that the positioning of each amenity is carefully curated and is designed to perform as expected for several years.

The vulnerability of terminal buildings to the technological and infrastructural changes is one of the main problems with the airports. This thesis attempts to analyze different components that cause airport terminals to be rigid to the changes. Following the performance analysis for airport terminals, this project proposed a design solution that exhibits a potential way of increasing the efficiency and life span of the airport terminals. While the flexibility of physical infrastructure is one of the ways to absorb the increasing congestions in the building, it also needs to be organized so that it can ease the tensions in a positive way and do not cause unnecessary complexities. To acknowledge this circumstance and find a fact-based resolution to this issue, this project proposes to work out a system of constants and variables where a series of elements can be retained for a comparatively longer period and be more stationary than the variables of the design that can be changed over a shorter period. Based on the analysis of airport terminals in general and a focused analysis of one particular location this project will propose a unique design solution for the medium hub airport terminals and provide a proof of concept by re-imagining the design of Bradley airport at Hartford.


First Advisor

Kathleen Lugosch

Second Advisor

Sandy Litchfield