Structural Steel Construction Complete at PDX Concourse E Extension

By Hennebery Eddy

Construction workers watch a steel beam being placed by a crane at Portland International Airport.

Milestone marks midway point for construction of the 148,000sf Concourse E extension at Portland International Airport, anticipated to open mid-2020

Construction workers placed the last piece of structural steel for the 148,000-square-foot expansion of Concourse E at Portland International Airport Thursday, Feb. 21. Part of the Port of Portland’s PDXNext program, a series of updates and upgrades to deliver a convenient, comfortable, uniquely PDX experience for travelers and employees now and into the future, the Concourse E expansion extends 830 feet east along the airport’s entry drive, adding six passenger gates and balancing the number of passengers using the north and south sides of the airport. The $215 million project began construction in 2017 and is on schedule to open mid-2020.

Poised as an impactful gateway to the airport, the Concourse E extension will create a memorable entry to PDX, named Best Domestic Airport by Travel + Leisure for the sixth consecutive year in 2018. The project also includes additional concessions, restrooms, support spaces, and amenities. Representatives from Portland International Airport, Skanska, Hennebery Eddy Architects, and Fentress Architects attended a topping-out ceremony, placing a signed beam to mark the occasion.


Balancing Passenger Loads Across the Entire Airport Terminal

Delivered by the Hennebery Eddy, Fentress Architects, and Skanska USA project team, the PDX Terminal Balancing Project consists primarily of extending Concourse E east by 830 feet. If standing vertically, the concourse would be 22 stories taller than Portland’s tallest building. Once the concourse extension is complete, Southwest Airlines will move from Concourse C on the south to Concourse E on the north to help balance use of the TSA security screening checkpoints, baggage handling systems, ticket lobby facilities, and concessions. Corresponding Southwest Airlines space,s such as ticket counters and kiosks, will also be relocated. In addition, there is an existing apron north of the extension that will be demolished and re-paved to meet FAA specifications for six new gates with boarding bridges.

“With today’s topping off, we begin work on the full building enclosure, which will be done by October 2019,” said Ryan Richards, Skanska’s senior project manager of Operations at PDX. “We look forward to completing the new concourse by mid-2020.”

Creating a Refreshed Gateway In and Out of Oregon

Designed in partnership by Hennebery Eddy Architects of Portland and Fentress Architects of Denver, Colo., the Concourse E extension aims to create an iconic experience for travelers, connecting them to the urban fabric of downtown Portland and views of the stunning Pacific Northwest landscape. Located along the airport’s entry drive, the design increases the civic presence of the airport and complements the Port of Portland Headquarters, creating a gateway to the airport. Landscape improvements including native, low-irrigation vegetation, reflecting the rich ecosystem of Oregon and outdoor lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest.

“We had over 100 team members involved in design and engineering of the project. Each team member had a role to reinforce PDX as America’s Best Airport,” said Michelle Vo, the design team’s Project Manager and Principal at Hennebery Eddy.

Inside the concourse, continuous north-facing clerestory windows filter daylight throughout the concourse, much like filtered daylight experienced in forests surrounding Portland. Concession nodes are spaced similarly to Portland’s pedestrian-friendly downtown blocks, enhancing intuitive wayfinding and a positive passenger experience. At the east end of the expanded concourse, views of the iconic, 11,250-foot-high Mount Hood orient passengers within the terminal.

“The design of PDX’s Concourse E Extension creates a functional and flexible concourse while also creating the ‘Front Door’ for the Airport,” said Tom Theobald, the project’s Aviation Architect and Principal at Fentress Architects.

  • Project Name: Portland International Airport Concourse E Extension and Terminal Balancing
  • Client: Port of Portland, Portland International Airport
  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Architect: Hennebery Eddy Architects & Fentress Architects
  • Contractor: Skanska USA
  • Program: Concourse extension, gates; improvements to airline operational spaces, and concessions
  • Area: 148,000 square feet (Concourse E Extension)
  • Budget: $215 million
  • Status: Under construction, opening mid-2020

To download renderings courtesy of Hennebery Eddy Architects and Fentress Architects, © Port of Portland:

To request topping out ceremony images © Port of Portland: