Published: June 23, 2008
Birdair, Inc., the leading specialty contractor of lightweight long-span roofing systems and tensile structures throughout the world, recently engineered and constructed a fabric membrane for a new parking terminal at Indianapolis International Airport, Indianapolis, IN.
In an effort to update and expand the current facility, renovations to Indianapolis International Airport include the replacement of the previous terminal building with a new, state-of-the-art, 40-gate terminal facility. An adjacent parking garage, ground transportation center and airfield will flank the new terminal, slated for completion in October 2008.
The new five-story, 2.5-million-square-foot parking garage, located immediately west of the new terminal structure, was designed to accommodate 5,900 cars and 1,200 rental cars. As an integral part of the structure’s contemporary design, the new parkade features a Birdair PTFE fabric membrane installed as helical canopies designed to emulate the spirals of the ramps themselves. Approximately 75,000 square-feet of PTFE material forms the two 100-foot diameter helical ramp canopies and the 500-foot center atrium spine canopy.
ARCHonsortium LLC, Indianapolis, IN, selected the fabric membrane for its modern visual appeal and versatility, as well as its optimum performance record for structures located in varying climate zones. Birdair’s ability to overcome design and engineering challenges that other specialty contractors would not have been able to meet was vital to the project’s success.
“One of the primary challenges we faced with this project was maintaining an acceptable adherence to the design concept for the helical canopies, given the desire that the structures follow the spirals of the ramps themselves, and that they essentially cantilever from the inner core ramp structure without additional visible structure at their peripheries,” explains David R. Franklin, AIA, of Domain Architecture Inc., Indianapolis, IN, a member firm of ARCHonsortium. “Birdair devised a single unobtrusive strut that ultimately served both our aesthetic preferences and their own structural needs.
“Birdair’s innovative engineering solutions continue to meet building challenges that maintain initial design intent,” says Kevin Mayer, Birdair vice president of business development. “Our coordinated construction and engineering efforts allow for unparalleled custom design and fabrication of tensile structures throughout the world.”
“I am extremely pleased with the installation of the product, as well as Birdair engineers’ execution of our design intent, particularly for the helical ramp canopies,” adds Franklin.
Although Domain Architecture had not previously worked with Birdair, Franklin’s own previous positive experiences with Birdair influenced his group’s decision to partner with Birdair as a specialty contractor. Birdair has fabricated a number of tensile structures in the Indianapolis area, including Methodist Hospital and the RCA Dome (formerly the Hoosier Dome), a project in which Franklin was involved with prior to establishing Domain Architecture.
“Our familiarity with Birdair projects in the Indianapolis and North Carolina areas led to our decision to select Birdair,” continues Franklin. “They were able to successfully meet the challenges associated with the project, and we would very much look forward to a future opportunity to work with them.”
Planning for the new $1.1 billion Indianapolis Airport terminal began in 1975, with construction beginning in 2001. Construction on the $92-million parking structure and attached ground transportation center began in July 2005 and will be completed in July 2008. The 1,200,000-square-foot terminal will officially open to the public on October 28, 2008.
The new structure will meet modern security, parking, baggage handling, communications and other systems requirements. Its location between the airport’s two major runways will reduce noise and pollution while saving taxiing time and fuel.
The parking structure project team consists of a group of firms called ARCHonsortium, LLC, Indianapolis, IN. (www.archonsortium.net). As part of the group, Franklin served as chief designer for all Birdair components of the parking garage as well as for the attached ground transportation center. F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co., Inc., Indianapolis, IN, served as general contractor. The Indianapolis Airport Authority, Indianapolis IN, is the facility owner.
“With some admitted bias, I think the spiraling canopies for the helical ramps at the Indianapolis airport parking structure are the most elegant and unique I have seen, and I must compliment Birdair on their execution and engineering,” notes Franklin.
PTFE, or Polytetrafluoroethylene, is a Teflon®-coated woven fiberglass membrane that is extremely durable and weather resistant; it is capable of withstanding temperatures from -100°F to +450°F, immune to UV rays, and waterproof.
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About Birdair: Birdair, Inc. is the leading specialty contractor of custom tensile structures throughout the world. In addition to pre-construction services such as design assistance, budgeting, construction methodologies and project scheduling, Birdair provides design-build solutions in all aspects of project design, engineering, installation and maintenance. The company offers a selection of architectural fabric membranes, including PTFE fiberglass, ETFE film, PVC and Tensotherm™. Birdair, based in Buffalo, NY, is a member of the Taiyo Kogyo Group, with operations serving North and South America and other international locations. For more information about Birdair, like us on Facebook, call 1-800-622-2246 or visit www.birdair.com.