Luminant Design

Information • Ideas • Environments

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Dulles airport
Dulles airport sign
Dulles airport sign
Dulles airport sign
Concourse wayfinding signs

Concourse wayfinding signs

Washington Dulles International Airport

A busy U.S. airport with architectural history

The Washington Dulles International airport is a major U.S. airport serving 80 domestic and 40+ international destinations with its 143 gates and 14 hard stand locations. The airport sees 1,000 to 1,200 daily flights and serves 23 million passengers each year. It is also a place with a unique history as a complex designed by neo-futurist architect Eero Saarinen.

Over time the airport grew beyond the architect’s original vision of a single building with shuttle bus access hardstand planes. Today it is sprawling complex of concourses that travelers navigate with tightly timed connections. This situation required an updated sign program to guide transit users with the optimal routing between gates depending on their location –whether by foot, shuttle bus or a new monorail system. Such signs needed to be sensitive to Saarinen’s architectural legacy.

Concourse, terminal and roadway wayfinding sign system

Luminant Design staff worked on this project as part of a joint team lead by world-acclaimed Dutch design firm Mijksenaar and the international engineering firm Arup. The team analyzed airport use and developed a comprehensive signage package to facilitate airport wayfinding. This included 700+ directional signs, facilities identification signs and regulatory signs for pedestrian and vehicular wayfinding navigation throughout airport main terminal, concourses A, B, & Z and access roadway.

Deliverables included development of a signage design guidelines manual and a technology guidelines manual; design of sign structures, graphics and details conforming to airport architecture; sign location plans, sign nomenclature, message routing, and message inventory database.

Designed at Mijksenaar Arup Wayfinding. Luminant Design staff William Bardel was a contracted wayfinding designer on the design team for this project.

Client: Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority
Date: May 2007—May 2009. Installed August 2009–2010.