Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Terminal 1 Renovation

St. Louis, Missouri / United States of America

The simple elegance of Minoru Yamasaki's Terminal was diminished through years of uncoordinated repairs and clutter. Signage, information and concessions accumulated to create obstacles and confusion for passengers, and diminished the beauty and monumentality of this iconic public space.  Our design goal:  remove all unnecessary elements and restore the space to its essence. 

Originally the center vault included a gallery-like waiting area allowing views in/out to a sculpture court, but was subsequently filled-in with offices.  The renovation consolidates offices and re-opens the vault to restore this important spatial idea.   New free-standing piers integrate up-lighting and MEP distribution and feature a waterwall and greenwall.

Vaults were originally surfaced with smooth plaster and later covered with textured spray-on “popcorn” finish that collected dirt and was not maintainable.  New acoustical plaster returns the tautness of the original finish while satisfying maintainability.

The vaults are separated by triangulated skylights that were concealed by acrylic lay-in ceilings flush with the vault surface. The renovation eliminated the lay-in to clarify skylights as voids between distinct vault structures (evident in construction photos).  In this manner the reading of individual tent-like vaults is dramatized.  New LED lighting reduces energy/maintenance costs while providing quality white light and color program-ability for events.

Statistics:  Phased renovation: Main Terminal (80,170 s.f.), Mid-Level (69,300 s.f.), and Baggage Claim (61,860 s.f.)

Architect of Record

exp US Services (Lead + Design Architect)

Associate Architect

KAI (Architect of Record)


City of St. Louis Airport Authority

General Contractor

K & S Associates, Inc.


  • Kiku Obata + Company
  • Randy Burkett Lighting