Orlando International Airport will debut Terminal C, a world-class design that will help support the growing number of passengers traveling through Central Florida. The $2.8 billion dollar project’s grand opening on September 19 will be the largest terminal project — by size — to debut in the United States in recent years.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the gateway to the theme parks including the Walt Disney World Resort, miles of spectacular beaches, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Terminal C will serve up to 12 million passengers annually and feature a new Federal Inspection Service (FIS) facility as well as 15 new gates, which accommodate up to 20 aircraft, along with amenities including a nursing station and pet relief areas. At full build-out, Terminal C can increase capacity at MCO by up to 60 million passengers annually.
“Innovation and sophisticated design that reflects elements of the Central Florida community combine to deliver a world-class travel experience,” says Kevin Thibault, CEO, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “Terminal C will be so much more than a transfer point from one place to another, it will serve as a multimodal memorable entryway for passengers visiting, living and working in the region.”
More Than An Airport
Designed by architect Fentress Architects, together with HNTB as architect of record, Terminal C is a low-touch environment that combines concessions, interactive media displays, and iconic architecture.
Ticketing, security, concessions, gates, and baggage claim will be along a boulevard. It connects Terminal C’s Palm Court and Town Square with the MCO’s Train station, which supports four rail systems including Brightline’s inter-city service. Palm Court is airside with shopping, dining, socializing, and relaxation lounges. Town Square is landside and provides a light-filled, open space for international and domestic arrivals. This boulevard will be adorned with a Grand Skylight that introduces dappled daylight and supports lush foliage.
“The tinted glass panels of the Grand Skylight dapple and diffuse sunlight, which creates an effect reminiscent of light coming through Orlando’s historic orange groves,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA Principal in Charge of Design with design Fentress Architects.
Hi-Tech, Low Touch
Terminal C was designed in a linear/pier configuration which gets departing passengers through in an average of 11 minutes. It will also have 100 percent automated screening lanes in TSA checkpoints and 100 percent facial recognition at all 15 gates for international arrivals and departures.
An Experiential Media Environment (EME)
There are three Experiential Media Environment elements that highlight Central Florida’s natural and developed attractions. The Moment Vault in Palm Court gives departing passengers a 360-degree immersive experience including deep blue springs with bioluminescent fish and an excursion to the surface of Mars.
The Windows on Orlando, located along the airside concourse, is a 100-foot-long, 32-foot display of Central Florida locations including a rocket launch sequence filmed from the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center and a cattle round-up at the Deseret Ranch in St. Cloud.
The Portal in Town Square is three stories high with 32 custom curved screens hanging in a helical frame. It tells a visual story of the transformation of Central Florida from natural springs and ranchlands to the dawn of Disney and the launch into space exploration.
Designers made Terminal C as sustainable as possible with reduced water consumption and irrigation systems, responsive lighting and temperature control systems, solar panels and non-toxic adhesives, and non-painted natural materials. These strategies are likely to be awarded Silver or Gold LEED Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. If that happens, Terminal C will be the first LEED v4 airport campus of any level in the world.
Here are some ideas if you’re traveling to Orlando: