Terminal Silhouettes: MCI

Terminal silhouette of MCI (Kansas City)

MCI.svg

Kansas City was a fun airport to draw.

Although Kansas City’s terminals look circular, they don’t truly have curved walls. Instead, their true shape is a 54-sided regular polygon (a pentacontakaitetragon), with a portion removed to allow the roadway to enter.

Both the outside and inside wall are polygons, but they’re also rotated slightly from each other, such that each corner of the interior wall is lined up with the midpoint of each outer wall segment, and vice versa. Each inner wall corner has a notch (from the sun shade over the entry doors), and each outer wall corner has a spike (from the support pillars).

Zoomed in view of MCI terminal, showing roof beams, notches, and spikes
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Terminal Silhouettes: BHM

Terminal silhouette of BHM (Birmingham)

BHM.svg

I’m a fan of the circular landside portion of the terminal on this one, though I was hoping that the airside portion would turn out to be a symmetrical W shape, rather than the slightly irregular W that it turned out to be.

It was pretty easy to draw; the only curves could be drawn with a circle cut out of another circle, and everything else was straight lines save for the tiny circular bump in the middle of the airside concourse.

Terminal Silhouettes: NRT

NRT.svg

I’ve had an issue with certain airports equipped to handle large quantities of large aircraft – in many cases, the jet bridges are not connected directly to the terminal structure, but instead are connected to immovable “fingers” extending from the structure. These fingers allow the aircraft to be further from the terminal, and support using multiple jet bridges for faster loading and unloading of very large aircraft.

As I discovered when I created my terminal silhouette for Vancouver, it’s not immediately clear whether the fingers should be considered part of the jet bridge (and should therefore be omitted from the drawing) or part of the terminal (and should therefore be included in the drawing).

Tokyo–Narita has similar fingers in both Terminals 1 and 2, and I debated for a while whether or not I should include them, and even started drawing them:

Fingers on part of Terminal 1

Ultimately, though, the terminal silhouettes are an aesthetic representation of an airport, and I liked the simplified, fingerless version of Narita better. I decided to learn from my Vancouver silhouette, and drew Narita without the fingers.

Beyond that, my other decisions were what buildings to include in the drawing at all. Satellite maps of NRT seem to show an airside connector of Terminals 2 and 3; however, airport maps (and my recollection of Terminal 2) seem to indicate that this hallway is not available for the traveling public, so I ultimately decided to exclude it. Likewise, there were a few buildings touching the southeast side of Terminal 2 which appeared to be purely administrative; since they were self-contained structures that weren’t deeply integrated with the terminal, I left them out as well.

Terminal Silhouettes: Redrawn ORD with Concourse L Stinger

ORD

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Chicago O’Hare was one of the first terminal silhouettes I drew. While I generally like how it turned out, I’ve learned a lot of techniques from the dozens of terminals I’ve drawn since then. For a while, I’ve wanted to redraw ORD from scratch and try to recreate a better version of it.

Earlier this year, ORD opened an expansion to Terminal 3/Concourse L, adding another five gates (L20–L24). I’d watched its construction progress from the windows of the old Concourse L, and first got to walk through it in April.

2018-04-27 16.51.53

With this extra expansion, my terminal silhouette was now out of date. With CLT (which I also recently updated for a concourse expansion) I simply edited the drawing; however, with ORD, I decided to use this as my opportunity to redraw the silhouette from scratch.

ORD Diff

I learned a few things from my new drawing.

First, I’d always assumed that the entrances to Terminals 1, 2, and 3 (labeled below) formed half of a regular hexagon around the passenger drop-off/pick-up loops, which would mean that the terminals had 120° angles between them. However, T1 and T2 formed a 115° angle, and T2 and T3 were only at 110°. This also means that despite my prior assumptions, concourses B and C are not quite parallel with concourses F, G, and H.

ORD Terminals and Concourses

Second, I was able to confirm that the two Y-shaped concourses (E/F in Terminal 2, and H/K in Terminal 3) were basically identical in size, other than that the arms of H/K were longer. I was actually able to copy and paste E/F to create H/K, with relatively minimal modifications required.

I still think that O’Hare is one of my favorite terminal shapes. The layout has a lot of instances of symmetry while still having each terminal manage to be completely unique, and it manages to fit a lot of gates in a relatively small area in a way that’s entirely pleasing to my eyes. I had a lot of fun recreating this silhouette.