Los Angeles International Airport Midfield Expansion


Los Angeles World Airports


Construction cost
$1 billion

Completion date
Summer 2020

Project size
800,000 SF
Five-level Concourse
21 Aircraft Gates (all phases)
Gateway Building
PAX Tunnel

Los Angeles International Airport Midfield Expansion

Los Angeles

As the third busiest airport in the nation, Los Angeles International Airport must continue to modernize and expand in order to meet increasing passenger demands. Opening in 2020, the Midfield Satellite Concourse North (MSC) will act as an 800,000-square foot expansion to the Tom Bradley West International Terminal (TBIT). Due to our successful previous experience on the LAX Terminal 4 Connector and our strong relationship with both LAWA and the Joint Venture team, Walter P Moore was engaged to provide enclosure engineering services for the exterior enclosure of the MSC.

In order to meet LAWA’s established program and budget within their rigorous schedule, the design-build team pursued a Collaborative Design-Build process. This enabled them to find cost effective solutions while maintaining the aesthetic vision. As part of this synergetic process, LAWA and the project consultants utilized a “Big Room Meeting” setting, where everyone could come together to provide expertise about their specialty and to find agreeable solutions. This collaborative method allowed the team to make quick, definite decisions about nuanced or challenging aspects of the project, saving LAWA both time and money.

As an extension of the existing TBIT terminal, the MSC needed to match TBIT’s structural systems while maintaining its own unique identity. The goal was to maintain the spirit of the existing system but make MSC lighter and airier by optimizing steel and aluminum structural members to be as small as possible. Walter P Moore recommended a mix of metal panel and glass for the enclosure in order to provide a robust structure that would survive public and environmental abuse while maintaining the design aesthetic.

A key aspect of the light and airy design was the use of natural daylight. To accomplish this, the north wall of the concourse is a 48-foot tall, cantilevered picture window with panoramic views of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains. However, this enormous window needed to withstand significantly more seismic activity than the curtain wall system alone could bear. In response, Walter P Moore developed a lateral bracing system to support the curtain wall, which elegantly integrated into the architectural design.

One of LAWA’s primary goals for the MSC was longevity, meaning that it would be able to serve passengers for the decades to come. This required a higher resistance to seismic activity as well as the ability to accommodate changing aircraft sizes. To meet this requirement, Walter P Moore designed a lab-tested façade that can withstand a 3% drift without damage, allowing the building to remain functional and the curtainwall undamaged when experiencing a 100-year earthquake. To meet the challenge of changing aircraft sizes, each of the 12 gatehouses was designed and engineered as an independent unit and connects to the concourse building using expansion joints allowing them to be reconfigured as needed. Our team mirrored this modular approach in the façade’s structural system so that the exterior cladding could be reconfigured to match any new gatehouse configuration.

Ultimately the team’s synergistic Collaborative Design-Build process proved to be invaluable to LAWA by facilitating design innovation while keeping the project on time and on budget. The Midfield Satellite Concourse is scheduled to open on this Fall.