New Orleans Airport Glass Curtain Walls

The original New Orleans’ International Airport terminal was a world leader when it first opened in 1959.  Much has changed in the world of aviation over 60 years, and in 2011, work began evaluating options for the airport’s future operations.

The selected option was to construct a new terminal building to the North of the airfield (the original terminal is situated to the South). Ground was broken on 14th January 2016, and the new terminal was opened for use on 6th November 2019. Widely considered the largest construction project in New Orleans in more than forty years, the new terminal consists of thirty-five gates and almost 1 million sq. ft (92,900 m2) of space under its huge domed roof.

A key feature of the design, are the expansive 50ft (15m) high glass curtain wall façades, which flank the terminal on all sides. Developed by Walter P Moore, the façades use a tension rod system to provide both vertical and horizontal support to the primary steel. The result is a lightweight and elegant structure, which offers open and unobstructed views of the airfield, floods the terminal with natural light, and can withstand the destructive force of a category 4 hurricane.

To give the structure its deceptively delicate look, Ronstan worked with our steel supplier Daver Steels to deliver more than 2000 high strength tension bar assemblies in 12mm and 16mm diameters.  These provide support and bracing to the primary steel.  In addition, custom spring and adjustable turnbuckle assemblies were provided to tie the structure to the floor slab and allow additional movement in the façade under storm wind loading.

Carbon steel components were all finished in high gloss, powder coated finish to match the surrounding steelwork, and stainless-steel components were electropolished to provide a clean, long lasting finish for the decades to come. 

All images ©LEO A DALY | Creative Sources Photography / Rion Rizzo

  • Product: Structural Rods
  • Downloads: Structural Rod Systems Catalogue
  • Architect: Crescent City Aviation Team (Leo A Daly & Atkins Global JV) Pelli Clarke Pelli
  • General Constructor/Builder: Hunt, Gibbs, Boh Metro Joint Venture
  • Client/Owner: New Orleans Aviation Board
  • Location: New Orleans, LA, USA
  • Completion Date: 2019

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Ronstan Tensile Architecture