A new landmark for Boston grounded in technology, innovation and sustainability
Modern and memorable, Terminal E is an iconic front door for the airport and region
Born from the colors of Boston on the outside, flowing and operationally efficient on the inside, the newly revamped Terminal E at Boston Logan International Airport is an elegant and welcoming introduction to the city. The international terminal — with its distinctive, prismatic red roof and sleek, undulated façade — opened in August 2023. This redevelopment project added 320,000 square feet and four new gates to the building, plus 70,000 square feet of renovated and replanned functions within the existing terminal, including new ticketing, baggage and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities.
A central design feature of this terminal is its iconic red roof. The prismatic red paint, dubbed Boston Red, subtly changes color depending on the light and was created specifically and exclusively for the project — marking the first time prismatic paint has been used on an airport façade. The roof’s form, gently sloping over the building’s south side façade, reveals panoramic views of the downtown Boston skyline. The terminal’s north and west offer unfettered views to the airside and East Boston waterfront.
The modernized terminal — encompassing major renovations along with new amenities and conveniences — was designed with a focus on incorporating sustainability and enhancing the passenger experience for the upwards of six million international passengers flying through Terminal E each year. The improvements will easily accommodate the nine million travelers expected to pass through the terminal yearly by 2026.
As prime consultant and lead master architect, AECOM delivered full architectural and engineering services, collaborating with vision architect luis vidal + architects and construction manager at risk Suffolk, to bring this alternative delivery project to life. This complex expansion program involved building through, expanding and enveloping existing buildings on a fully active airport apron. The program was completed in multiple phases without affecting continuous airport operations or building safety and security.
Redefining the passenger experience
With the volume of travel and travelers continuing to increase, Massport’s top priority with this project was to develop a terminal space that elevated the reputation of Boston Logan Airport for providing passengers with a best-in-class experience.
In addition to expanding Terminal E’s square footage and increasing the number of gates from 12 to 16, our team renovated the main terminal, adding a soaring, multi-story central great hall that creates an elegant, memorable place for passengers to relax, work or shop. New elements, such as a consolidated, state-of-the-art passenger security checkpoint, upgraded baggage systems, and intuitive wayfinding and digital signage, make the travel journey seamless, easy and relaxed. Expanded concessions, diverse seating areas and new airline clubs give travelers more options to spread out and be comfortable.
To promote an inclusive passenger experience, specialized amenities include comfortable seating with power for charging devices, work bars, high-quality concession offerings, mother’s rooms, companion care rooms and pet relief areas. A key first for Boston and the region, Massport and AECOM collaborated with the New England Center for Children to create an all-ages sensory room that addresses the needs of passengers who require a visual and auditory separation from a busy terminal. The space includes an airplane simulation room that provides a full-scale replica of the interior of an airplane, using video, auditory and tactile replications of the plane environment to assist passengers with transitioning to a new and perhaps unfamiliar environment.
Curbing a carbon footprint
Sustainability played an integral role in the development of Terminal E. Resilient to environmental factors, environmentally conscious and designed to withstand a changing climate, the terminal’s design adopted advanced building systems and renewable energy, with its fundamental shape and orientation specifically crafted to reduce its carbon footprint.
The design team used extensive modelling to determine the building’s shape to manage solar gain, harvest daylight throughout the year and generate power with building integrated photovoltaics. The terminal’s south-facing façade contains 5,500-square-feet of photovoltaic glass that turns sunlight into electricity. Dynamic glass on the terminal’s north side automatically self-tints when necessary to reduce glare and reflected solar gain. The new central great hall was designed around the yearly sun path, blocking sun in summer and inviting solar gain in the winter, with continuous daylighting to all public spaces bathing the terminal in natural light. Further, the precisely designed displacement ventilation system efficiently delivers a comfortable interior environment in both the summer and winter months. Due to these features, Massport expects annual electricity usage to be reduced by nearly 10 percent.
Modelling also helped evaluate the terminal for better management of carbon emissions and energy use. The meticulously detailed and constructed façade is well-insulated and airtight. The roof and building envelope are calibrated to respond to the myriad of weather conditions that New England brings, including high winds and capacity for a 500-year storm, whether it is in the winter or the summer. To minimize greenhouse gas emissions, recycled materials were incorporated throughout the building and natural resources, renewable energy sources, and advanced interior and exterior building systems were carefully integrated, including a solar-ready roof.
Incorporating social value principles, the terminal supported initiatives that have tangible results for the surrounding community. The building’s shape was designed to serve as a noise barrier, shielding the sound of planes and airport operations from the nearby East Boston neighborhoods. Airplanes at the gate are powered directly from the terminal building without any fuel use, which allows the engines to shut down — eliminating idling noise and significantly reducing hydrocarbon consumption and plane exhaust — further benefiting the airport’s urban environment. Electrification stations are provided for apron equipment in support of a fully electric terminal.
These energy efficiency efforts create the largest and most sustainable terminal building at Logan International Airport, with a 25-percent reduction of quantified energy use above the Massachusetts Energy Code — a significant accomplishment considering the embedded energy burden of this particular building type. Charting a path to net zero, Terminal E is targeting LEED Gold status from the U.S. Green Building Council.
A longstanding partnership
Designed to be efficient, modern and memorable, the revamped Terminal E supports Massachusetts’s regional economy by accommodating international demand while minimizing community and environmental impact. Executed by AECOM in partnership with Massport over several phases spanning fifteen years, Terminal E is the latest in a series of projects completed by AECOM at Logan International Airport. Our two decades-plus collaborating with the agency to provide full-service architecture, interior design and engineering services encompass five major terminals at Boston Logan, including the Terminal B optimization project which opened in 2021. With the opening of Terminal E, the close partnership between AECOM and Massport continues its successful track record advancing initiatives that benefit the people and communities of Massachusetts.
All photos courtesy Ema Peter Photography