The Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI) selected MKA to receive a 2023 Excellence in Structural Engineering Award for the firm’s role in Nashville International Airport’s (BNA’s) Terminal Lobby and International Arrivals Facility (IAF) Addition. The project is part of BNA’s $1.5 billion overhaul and expansion to accommodate substantial growth in passenger activities.
MKA’s innovative and resilient design introduced a long-span structural roof “umbrella” positioned six feet above the existing terminal building and supported by new columns outside its perimeter. This design offered many project benefits:
- Contiguous “twin-spine” trusses measuring 660 feet long support and form the project’s iconic 6,255-ton “airwave” roof, eliminating the need for temporary shoring during construction and allowing workers to erect the steel above active roadways and a passenger-occupied terminal without interrupting airport operations. In addition, the twin-spine trusses are just 10 feet deep, facilitating pre-assembly and shipping during construction and reducing the project’s cost and schedule.
- New columns outside the terminal support the structural umbrella, eliminating the need to strengthen existing columns and foundations—cumbersome work that could have impeded airport operations.
- The existing terminal roof served as a safe and temporary work platform during the structural umbrella’s construction. For example, workers using the old roof as a platform installed the new roof’s mechanical and electrical services six times faster than traditional means requiring scissor lifts.
- When it came time to demolish the existing terminal roof, the structural umbrella provided weather protection for the work below.
- MKA’s design enhances the visitor experience in the main Terminal Lobby and IAF by introducing open, airy, and light-filled spaces unencumbered by forests of columns.
SEAOI presented the award to MKA in the category of Best Project Over $150 Million during the organization’s 44th Annual Awards Celebration on June 1 in Chicago, Illinois.