In the summer of 2014, The Sheward Partnership (TSP) pursued a new on-call contract at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) in Maryland and TSP was selected as the architectural consultant on 2 of the 6 competing teams.To prove their design aptitude, all competing project teams seeking contracts were required to submit designs for a proposed new Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) sited at BWI. All submissions required two separate design schemes including a Non-Functional Tower, where the tower itself is dedicated to the air traffic control cab and vertical circulation with a base building below serving all necessary administrative functions. The second scheme was a Functional Tower, where the elevated tower structure contains all programmatic functions including administrative uses and control cab functions.

Since TSP was supporting two separate submissions we created two internal teams to put together separate designs and imagery for two of our three project teams. The subsequent secrecy and competition among these internal teams made for some entertaining inter-office rivalry.

In the end, TSP produced a series of successful and unique design concepts to address the constraints set by the project’s site, users, and functions. The process moved back and forth between hand sketch and 3D computer modeling until we developed strong designs for two Non-Functional Towers and two Functional Towers. In August, the final designs were presented to the Maryland Aviation Authority.

BWI Tower 2_BLOG

TSP with project team led by Parsons Brinckerhoff:

Non-Functional Tower

  • Emphasis on slender and elegant tower design in contrast to the horizontal expanse of the terminals. Meant to serve as an iconic representation of BWI.
  • Simple base building using skylights and large windows for natural daylighting, a green roof for stormwater management, and a geothermal system for heating and cooling.

Functional Tower

  • Same features as the non-functional tower, but a unique hybrid concept in form somewhere in between the typical functional and non-functional schemes.
  • Keeps tower personnel separated and secure from administrative operations.
  • Allows parking or future terminal building expansion at surface below with minimal impact to the building design and operations.

TSP with project team led by Johnson Mirmiran & Thompson:

Non-Functional Tower

  • Unique tower form to serve as an iconic airport symbol.
  • Interplay of solid and transparent surfaces to complement that component of the existing terminal buildings.
  • A base building below houses administrative functions.

Functional Tower

  • Proposed an adaptable design to include MAA ground control operations below the required FAA air traffic control cab.
  • Exposed structure relates to the space frame of the existing terminal building
  • Attentive to the likelihood of future expansion in front of the tower, the design maintains the aesthetic of the Functional Tower with or without a building in the foreground.

Each of the 6 project teams prepared reports and presentations to demonstrate their expertise in project management and design. Four contracts were awarded based on the teams’ performance and qualifications.Through the combined efforts of each project team, the Johnson Mirmiran & Thompson and Parsons Brinckerhoff groups were each awarded 1 of the 4 available contracts! The Sheward Partnership will serve as the primary architect under both – one of which is for the design and construction of a new Air Traffic Control Tower at BWI.