Lambert-St. Louis AirportTerminal

St. Louis, Missouri

148,000 SF

The Lambert-St. Louis Airport Terminal was Yamasaki’s first major public building commission. It was one of the early post-war terminals. For the purpose of gathering research, the firm visited the few relatively recent examples of this building type in Washington, D.C; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh. From these surveys Yamasaki learned that a terminal should convey a sense of gateway to the traveler. The building should reinforce the drama and importance of the trip, reflecting both the excitement of a departure and the comfort of a safe arrival.

Because of air travel’s growing popularity, the organization and design of the terminal had to deal with future expansion. Consequently, the terminal building was composed of several shells in response, creating a distinctive silhouette from the ground. The design was notable for its impressive use of concrete vaults which strongly influenced subsequent American air terminal design. Yamasaki’s domed design for St. Louis’s main terminal became the forerunner of modern terminal building plans. Both the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and the Charles DeGualle Airport in Paris, France followed the lead of the domed design of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport’s Main Terminal. The building continues to look complete as further domes have been added.

The Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Terminal was awarded the American Institute of Architects Award in 1956.