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1979, DMJM and Peterson and Brickbauer; 1997 Schaefer International Terminal, STV Group and William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates; 2001–2005, URS Corporation. 7050 Friendship Rd.

Officially opened in 1950, Maryland’s largest commercial airport began as Friendship International Airport in a then-rural section of northern Anne Arundel County between Baltimore and Washington. Continuous upgrades and expansion to respond to advances in aviation ramped up in 1972–1973 after the facility was acquired by the State of Maryland and the name changed to BWI. The 1950 terminal was demolished to make way for a new larger structure.

Airport design in the 1970s, following the fashion for Brutalism, had become heavier and more fortified to accommodate increased passenger volume and security requirements. The design for BWI’s new terminal is instead a skylit modular structure with exposed tubular steel trusses. The lightness contrasts with massive round piers sheathed in red glazed brick, creating a distinctive yet subdued design that could be easily expanded. In an Architectural Record article (December 1980), Brickbauer described the terminal as “having shed-like openness with monumental elements.” The architects of the new international terminal opened in 1997 responded to the architectural vocabulary established by Peterson and Brickbauer, including a soaring atrium space and a white version of the tubular steel trusses punctuated by skylights. In 2005 the sleek new Terminal A/B was opened to expand service for major BWI carrier South-west Airlines. That same year the airport was renamed in honor of Baltimore native Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie


What's Nearby


Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL (BWI) THURGOOD MARSHALL AIRPORT", [Linthicum, Maryland], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Maryland, Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022, 83-83.

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