New Airport Terminal Sports Wooden Trusses
Photo: Nick Merrick/Hedrich Blessing

The latest addition to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) opened on Jan. 24 sporting a unique look that uses laminated Douglas-fir trusses. The project’s designer, Denver-based Fentress Architects, claims RDU is the first major airport in the world to use a “lenticular wood-truss structure” to support a roof. In all, 80 trusses span the entire length of the terminal and concourse at 30 ft intervals. The trusses are 90 ft long and weigh 34 tons each. The latest phase of the terminal’s construction adds 920,000 sq ft to the 550,000 sq ft that opened in 2008, at a total cost of $570 million. Parsons Transportation Group, Pasadena, Calif., was the project manager; Archer Western, St. Louis, was the general contractor.