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Lester B. Pearson Airport - Terminal 1


Designed by Airport Architects Canada (A Joint Venture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill International Ltd., Adamson Associates, Moshe Safdie Associates Ltd.)
Completed as part of a joint venture with TMP Consulting Engineers
Photos by Safdie Architects

Airport terminal buildings are some of the largest and most populated multifunctional buildings in the world. Terminal 1 at Lester B. Pearson is Canada's largest airport, the hub of over 400,000 flights per year supporting over 30 million passengers - exceeding the predicted capacities. The terminal has an area of approximately four million square feet, accommodating retail shops and 80 gates. There are many different uses and occupancies within Terminal 1 including: public assembly, private office space, back-of-house facility service space (woodshops, metal shops, repair facilities, cart storage and charging areas, secure and non-secure areas, RCMP, CATSA, and police detention areas.

Each terminal building presents its own unique challenges but there are common elements affecting the mechanical design that are encountered on all projects. The mechanical systems are selected to suit a variety of zones and conditions and must be flexible enough to accommodate large swings in population: both relatively stationary (at check-in counters, security checkpoints, baggage claim and gates) and in continuous circulation (such as corridors). Such occupancy swings, which may occur hourly, daily and seasonally, impacts the size of air handling units as well as thermostatic zone control.

S + A Services Included:


The new terminal requires upwards of 15,000 tons of cooling, a system that will be supplied through the Central Utilities Building.


Toronto, Ontario

Gross Floor Area

  • 4,000,000 sq ft

Total Construction Cost

$ 2,000,000,000

Completion Year



2001 Canadian Consulting Engineers - Award of Merit: Transportation

2004 Design Exchange - National Post Design Exchange Award: Architecture- Commercial, Honorable Mention

2004 Society for Environmental Graphic Design - Merit Award for Signage and Wayfinding

2006 American Institute of Steel Construction - Innovative Design and Excellence in Architecture with Steel: Projects $75M and over