Washington Dulles International Airport – Main Terminal Expansion

With its striking roofline that gracefully swoops up from the landscape, Eero Saarinen’s landmarked Washington Dulles International Airport terminal is considered to be one of the finest examples of modern architecture. SOM more than doubled the narrow structure’s length, adding 300 feet onto each end, with a design that respects the 1962-vintage building and helps integrate previous additions.

In the new spaces, SOM replicated the distinctive catenary structure as well as the concrete finishes, windows, and terrazzo floors. Below grade, its expansion carved out space for new, automated baggage-handling facilities.

Construction proceeded in phases to allow the facility to remain open during the project. When completed in 1997, the expansion nearly tripled the airport's passenger handling capacity to 40 million a year. Active at Dulles since 1985, SOM has designed a master plan that includes six midfield concourses, a new international arrivals hall, and main terminal station for a new people-mover network.