Architect: Mead & Hunt
Owner: City of Manhattan, Kansas
Contractor: The Weitz Company
The new, 42,000 square-foot passenger terminal at the Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK) for the City of Manhattan, Kansas. Design services included: architecture, engineering (civil, structural, mechanical, fire protection, plumbing, and special systems) and construction administration. This major terminal expansion was needed to accommodate updated TSA requirements, as well as support growth in both large charter and commercial air service. Current space needs were addressed by relocating airport administrative offices away from the passenger terminal building; expanding the building footprint to the east and west; and adding a new partial mezzanine for HVAC equipment.
The terminal was designed to be constructed in two phases, allowing the airport to operate during construction. Phase 1, which comprised the new east addition, included airline ticketing, queuing, baggage make-up, the lobby, the TSA screening and support area, partial hold room functions, toilet rooms and major mechanical and electrical rooms. Phase II, which comprised the western addition, included the meet-and-greet lounge, the inbound baggage area, the baggage claim and the car rental facilities. The two phases together completed the overall design. Extensive technology systems were also added, including a whole new security system—comprised of access control, intrusion detection, and video surveillance, telecommunications, public address, FID, cable television, audiovisual equipment, a clock, and a fire alarm.
MHK is located approximately six and a half miles southwest of Manhattan, Kansas, away from urban congestion and easily accessible from KS-18. While our firm developed conceptual plans for the airport, the final sitework and parking configuration remained outside of the scope of the terminal project. Due to the complexity of the phasing work, however, temporary roadways were set up and access was provided to all necessary functions during construction.
When designing a regional airport, it is a priority to remember three important concepts. First, that the airport is a gateway to and from a community. Second, that the airport itself is a symbolic embodiment of flight and should therefore feel somewhat ethereal in nature. And third, that the region, local community and landscape should be considered during design, so that the building becomes site specific.
MHK is in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, a large region of eastern Kansas and north central Oklahoma that contains the largest intact tallgrass prairie in North America. Close to two-thirds of Kansas is covered in rolling hills. It was this imagery of the rolling hill, tall grass imagery which was the inspiration for the building’s design.
The use of local material is also significant. The Flint Hills are composed primarily of limestone, much of which contain bands of “chert”, also called flint. This local limestone, which is dominant in all the area’s buildings, is used in both the terminal’s exterior and interior construction. Wood canopies and accent walls are also used throughout the terminal, to assist with wayfinding and to provide a visual and textural warmth.
Photos: emb photography