Project's Summary

The replacement terminal at Duluth International Airport is making a lasting impression on the port city of Duluth and the surrounding region. This bustling airport serves travelers from northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada, and its new architecture beautifully captures the essence of the local environment. Drawing inspiration from the area's native forms, materials, and landscaping, the design creates a dynamic and visually striking first impression.

One of the standout features of the terminal is the design of the landside lobby roof, which cleverly resembles the waves of Lake Superior. This unique metaphor pays homage to the majestic lake that is such an integral part of the region's identity. Additionally, the deep reddish cladding on the service core symbolizes the steel hulls of the freighters and ships that sail the Great Lakes, further connecting the airport to its maritime surroundings.

Inside the terminal, visitors are greeted by a striking geometric pattern on the terrazzo floor. This artistic design references the natural lines formed by the cracking of ice on frozen lakes and rivers, a common sight in this part of the world. The interior glass incorporates etched images of birch trees, reminiscent of the beautiful forests found in the north woods around Duluth. Together, these elements create an atmosphere that is both visually stunning and deeply rooted in the local landscape.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the new terminal also prioritizes sustainability and energy efficiency. Designed to LEED Silver standards, it incorporates various green energy features such as geothermal heating, natural lighting, and a highly efficient water system. The project team worked diligently to create a heating and cooling system that is both efficient and comfortable for occupants, even during harsh winter months. Notably, a geothermal well meets a significant portion of the terminal's heating requirements and cooling loads, resulting in an impressive 3.19-ton reduction in CO2 emissions over the system's projected 40-year lifespan.

The Duluth International Airport terminal project, completed by the esteemed RS&H architectural studio, has received well-deserved recognition. In 2013, it was awarded the ENR Midwest Region Best Project in the Airports/Transit category, further solidifying its status as an outstanding architectural achievement. With its seamless blend of functionality, sustainability, and striking design, the terminal stands as a testament to the innovative and forward-thinking approach of the project team.

Overall, the replacement terminal at Duluth International Airport offers not only a gateway to the world for travelers but also a striking representation of the port city and its surrounding region. Through its inspired architecture, sustainable features, and thoughtful design elements, the terminal creates a truly dynamic and memorable first impression.

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