The New Terminal D-E Entryways – Energy Efficient and Beautiful

Philadelphia International Airport's (PHL) Terminals D and E curtain wall and vestibule upgrade will noticeably transform the exteriors and entrances along Departures Road. In addition to making the terminal entryways more attractive, the upgrade will improve energy efficiency and fire protection. 

DE EntryThe $5.98 million project includes the installation of new automatic sliding doors, a composite stone panel façade, a state-of-the-art curtain wall system, lighting, air curtain systems, safety equipment, and flooring. The project team includes Tim Hayes, Project Manager; Lynne Perry, Residential Engineer; Rui DaSilva, Inspector; and TranSystems, Designer. The multi-prime building team included Russ Kelly and Associates, Inc.; Surety Mechanical Services, Inc.; and Eagle Industrial Electric, Inc.

The design by TranSystems uses a structural sealant-glazed curtain wall. This “thermally broken” glass and aluminum system incorporates strips of structural material separating the inside and outside halves of the wall, creating an insulating barrier. This significantly improves the thermal insulating capability of the exterior wall.

“It has a much better R-value for insulation than the previous exterior wall – and it looks beautiful,” says Project Engineer Lynne Perry. R-value is a measure of how well a two-dimensional barrier, such as a layer of insulation, resists the conductive flow of heat. The thermal laminated safety glass is tinted green to protect against sunlight and to match the shade of the existing D/E expansion building. 

Passengers will enjoy many additional aesthetic elements, including a mix of attractive metal, glass, fabric, and stonework textures in the walls, ceilings, and flooring. The project continues an airport-wide beautification and energy-saving initiative by adding new exterior LED lighting along Departures Road. 

“Frontier is very excited about the upgrades happening at PHL that enhance our customer's experience,” says Brian Gillin, General Manager, Airport Customer Service for Frontier Airlines at PHL. “From the new vestibules to the planned reconfiguration that will allow us to relocate our kiosks, these changes will greatly improve customer flow in our check-in area.” 

The improvements also include a significant safety upgrade with new fire alarms and fire protection sprinklers.

The design phase ran from September 2017 through March 2019. Phase 1 construction ran from September 2021 to April 2022. Phase 2 began in April 2022 and is expected to run to September 2022. The third and final phase is scheduled to start in September 2022 and conclude in early 2023. 


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