Jackson Hole Airport | Gensler

The Jackson Hole Airport, the only U.S. airport located inside a National Park, is the gateway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks. The project involved the renovation of an existing baggage-claim area, the expansion of the ticketing lobby and hold rooms, and the addition of a new baggage-screening building. The renovation and expansion nearly doubled the size of the airport to about 116,000 square feet.

To integrate the building into its awe-inspiring surroundings, the concept considered the building as a simple, understated foreground feature within the beautiful landscape. The design addressed an 18-foot height limitation, in place within the National Park since the mid-1900s, through a clear-span queen post truss system that reduced beam depths and increased the volume.

In contrast to the previous terminal, which had minimal connection to the views, a new glass curtain wall was created to establish a strong connection between the interior and the exterior and to flood the ticketing hall with natural daylight. From the exterior, increased transparency also helps orient travelers and provides a more comforting experience.

The airport is defined by its wood structure, which was inspired by the humble expression of structures found in barns and sheds throughout the region. Weathered steel and smooth ground-concrete floors provide contrast to the tactile qualities of the wood structure. Interior architecture and design, branding, and public art were used cohesively to create a lodge-like atmosphere in keeping with the region. While the forms and materials of mountain architecture informed the building’s vocabulary, the design lacks any hint of kitsch or historicism.

Additional Credits

  • Associate Architect: Carney Logan Burke Architects
  • Baggage Systems: BNP Associates, Inc.
  • Engineer – Civil: Jacobs Carter Burgess
  • Engineer – Electrical and Mechanical: Swanson Rink
  • Engineer – Structural: Martin/Martin
  • General Contractor: Wadman Corporation
  • Landscape Design: Hershberger Design

Photo Credit

    © Tim Griffith; Matthew Millman

Jackson Hole Airport

  • Architect: Gensler
  • Owner: Jackson Hole Airport
  • Location: Jackson, Wyoming

Jury Comments

Unlike any other airport, the Jackson Hole Airport is warm and comfortable. These qualities, rather than security, drive the design.

The project embraces the culture of the area in every way. The rusted steel, wood, and stone are great material choices that produced a regionally-inspired solution.

We love the fact that they renovated and expanded the existing structure and added a new façade instead of starting over.

Modestly elegant and elegantly modest. In the environment, it has an iconic presence.

2014 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • Scott Wolf, FAIA (Chair)
  • The Miller Hull Partnership LLP
  • Seattle
  • Natalye Appel, FAIA
  • Natalye Appel + Associates Architects
  • Houston
  • Mary Brush, AIA
  • Brush Architects, LLC
  • Chicago
  • Joy Coleman, AIA
  • Treanor Architects
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Robert M. Hon
  • AIAS Student Representative
  • Savannah
  • Brenda A. Levin, FAIA
  • Levin & Associates Architects
  • Los Angeles
  • Michael J. Mills, FAIA
  • Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC
  • Princeton, New Jersey
  • G. Martin Moeller, Assoc. AIA
  • National Building Museum
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Ed Soltero, AIA
  • Office of the University Architect - Arizona State University
  • Tempe, Arizona

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