New Kansas City Airport Terminal Features Ventilated Parking Facade from Bendheim
Architects selected an elegant and functional parking façade from Bendheim as part of a major upgrade for Kansas City International Airport
A completely new air terminal for Kansas City opened on February 28, replacing two outmoded structures built in 1972. The extensive modernization effort also included a new seven-story parking structure. Over 2 million square feet in size, the building provides parking for 6,219 vehicles. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill served as principal architects for the overall project, named “Build KCI”. The Kansas City-based firm of BNIM took lead on the parking facility, in a design-build partnership with general contractor JE Dunn.
We joined this effort from the design stage, collaborating with our partner Längle Glas to create custom-engineered fastening systems for the parking facility’s ventilated façade. We ultimately provided over 50,000 square feet of tempered and laminated glass for the project. As a trained architect, Bendheim Vice President for Sales and Innovation Said Elieh was able to contribute to essential planning work before construction began.
“Having someone on the Bendheim side that understands the design vision we’re trying to achieve, but then can bring that technical capacity on the manufacturer side to help realize that conceptual vision is important,” explained Joshua Harrold, Associate Principal at BNIM. “I think Bendheim has been a great collaborator in that respect.” Our previous experience with the design of parking structure façades on this scale includes 727 West Madison in Chicago, Ill., and the Mueller Parking Structure in Austin, Tex.
Glass façades can provide an aesthetically pleasing exterior for parking structures while also providing cost-effective natural ventilation. At KCI, the “shingled” design of the façade creates pockets of air that slide between the glass panels, creating airflow in and out of the garage.
The sheer size and weight of the glass panels, most as large as 6’ x 14’ and each weighing 800+ pounds, called for a carefully designed attachment system. Bendheim and Längle designed and manufactured custom vertical compression clip systems for the project, allowing a costly steel substructure to be eliminated from the design. The 14” long clips support the length and weight of each panel while accommodating construction tolerances, live load movement, wind loads, and expansion joints.
We also kept ease of installation at the forefront of the design process. “We were very impressed with the Bendheim system”, noted Paul Fischer, Project Manager and Field Foreman at AGP, Inc. “It was designed very well, and the installation of the system and the glazing was a breeze.”
With a price tag of $1.5 billion, Build KCI constitutes the largest infrastructure project in the region’s history. The effort also achieved the notable distinction of LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Gold Certification, making it only the second terminal or concourse project in the United States to receive this designation.
As Kansas City prepares to open its new front door to major events such as the 2023 NFL Draft and the 2026 FIFA World Cup, regional pride has never ridden higher. “We were extremely proud to bring our understanding of glass and our extensive experience with ventilated parking façades to this historic undertaking,” noted Bendheim’s Said Elieh. “No two façade projects are alike, and we look forward to making further contributions to the renewal of America’s infrastructure.”
Bendheim is one of the world’s foremost resources for specialty architectural glass. Founded in New York City in 1927, the fourth-generation, family-owned company offers a virtually unlimited range of in-stock and custom architectural glass varieties. Bendheim develops, fabricates, and distributes its products worldwide. The company maintains production facilities in New Jersey and an extensive showroom in New York City