The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) selected MKA’s design of Nashville International Airport’s (BNA’s) Terminal Lobby and International Arrivals Facility (IAF) Addition to receive the national 2024 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS²) Award for Excellence in Engineering.  The project is part of BNA’s $1.5 billion overhaul and expansion to accommodate substantial growth in passenger activities.

MKA’s structural design served three key purposes—to provide additional capacity, create a remarkable visitor experience, and deliver a beautiful and bold signature design unique to Nashville.  MKA’s design strategy utilized a long-span, structural steel, curvilinear roof design to clear-span the active roadway and terminal below.  The innovative design reduced the number of interior columns by 80 percent compared to a short-span roof design while also significantly reducing the construction cost and schedule, thanks in part to steel elements that facilitated pre-assembly.

The signature roof design, which BNA affectionately describes as an “airwave,” totals 151,285 square feet and weighs 1,750 tons.  The twin, 685-foot-long contiguous “spine” trusses form a gentle wave symbolic of the Grand Ole Opry’s radio waves, and the roof’s taper to a finely pointed edge is reminiscent of an airplane wing.  Further honoring the Nashville music scene theme, linear skylights throughout the roof evoke guitar frets, while an oculus skylight evokes the guitar’s sound hole.

BNA’s Terminal Lobby and IAF is one of only six projects to receive an AISC IDEAS² Award.  The awards will be presented during NASCC: The Steel Conference March 20-22 in San Antonio, Texas.  Winners will be featured in the May 2024 issue of Modern Steel Construction magazine.  More information about AISC’s 2024 IDEAS² Awards is online here.

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