“I really believe that space can affect people, as an architect,” said Luciana Burdi, director of capital programs and environmental affairs for Massport. “So the more we design the space to be more conducive, more inclusive, the better we can affect people. “
Even at the height of the pandemic restrictions, Logan was never quite sorry. But there were a lot fewer passengers. Massport measured around 804,832 passengers last December, a 76% drop from the 3.3 million who passed through Logan in December 2019. By September, that number had dropped to 2.2 million, and with the restrictions lifted on international travel, it will likely continue to increase during the holidays.
This means directing passengers to new (or not so new) equipment: large touch screens for terminal maps; comfy seating for disparate needs, knowing that those classic black airport door chairs may not be suitable for someone trying to send a few upstream emails on a laptop, or a family with young people children who need a little more space.
Massport is also offering its new app, FlyLogan, which CIO Kwang Chen says will make travel days a little less stressful. Through the app, passengers can book a parking reservation or a Logan Express ticket in advance. They can Access live multilingual customer service representatives via video chat, search for flight information and order food or coffee from anywhere in the airport to be delivered to them in person wherever they are they find themselves.
The delivery service, branded BOS2GO, allows ordering from anywhere in the airport, Chen said, much like on DoorDash or GrubHub. A hungry passenger standing in a security line at Terminal A could order, for example, a fisherman’s tray from Legal Sea Foods in Terminal C or a latte from Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Terminal B and – once security passed – a delivery man in a light blue jacket will bring it to their door. The service is run by Houston-based airport e-commerce company Serviy, formerly known as Grab.
“What creates the most stress for people to fly is uncertainty,” Chen said. “How long is the TSA waiting time going to last?” Will I park? Will I get a Logan Express ticket? Will I have time to eat? … What we’re trying to get is to give people certainty.
The pandemic and the free fall in passenger travel it has caused have led Massport to suspend certain renovation projects indefinitely. In June 2020, Massport’s board of directors voted to cut a five-year, $ 3 billion construction plan by about a third. The plans for a monorail-type shuttle, two parking lots and part of the expansion of Terminal E have been scrapped.
But some plans are moving forward: Passengers will see a new awning outside the Terminal C pick-up area, made of a transparent material to protect them from rain or snow while letting in natural light. It will be covered by solar panels that feed the airport’s electricity grid, Massport spokeswoman Jennifer Mehigan said.
In the years to come, passengers will also see updates on the often congested routes leading to Terminals B and C; a connection between these terminals behind security, so that passengers can browse a larger area and visit more restaurants; and more natural light and windows facing the runway in an airport built like a hodgepodge of concrete.
“We [as people] are very good at locking us in rooms, ”said Jorge Barrero, senior and regional design director at architectural firm HKS, who, along with interior design project manager Bethany Fox, wrote a series of articles on creating more breathable airports. “We rely on these mechanical systems and these filters, and often they are changed. But how often do we just want to be able to open a window, right? And it’s something difficult to do in an airport.
Barrero and Fox, who aren’t involved in the Logan redesign, said incorporating elements of nature and natural light can help make the trip a little more relaxing.
“We worked on a research project to bring in more natural light and increase air quality for passengers – and from those small-scale solutions you can integrate the creation, you know, talking of those little pockets of space, where we can relax and have some fresh air, ”Fox said. The goal in the end would be to “work our way towards this brand new prototype which has an open air for all”.
In recent decades, designers have tried to move away from airports for “non-places” – the term French anthropologist Marc Augé proposed to describe spaces devoid of personality, meaning or belonging – towards something more. thing with a more distinct local flavor.
“I think you really want to give a sense of ownership, and that’s for every airport,” said Rebecca Hollins, associate director of the architecture firm PGAL which works on the design of interiors in the connection between terminals. B and C. “You want to know you’re in Boston.
It can take the form of public art; Hollins described a planned art exhibit featuring musicians and Boston venues, which will include QR codes that passengers can scan to hear the artists’ music. It can also come from using local retailers or restaurants, like Legal Sea Foods or Stephanie’s, in places that were previously reserved only for national chains.
“It gives the passenger a neat, regional experience,” Hollins said.
Despite some delays at the start of pandemic closures, the drop in passenger volume has meant that some of these changes are slightly ahead of schedule.
“The challenge for Massport is that we are in an ongoing renovation,” said Burdi, director of capital programs for Massport. “I would like the space to welcome them to Boston and give them a warm hug when they leave.”
You can reach Gal Tziperman Lotan at email@example.com or 617-929-2043.