Agencie was selected to be the MWBE partner of a larger team of offices designing a new NYC airport terminal. Our scope included the design of pedestrian canopies at the arrivals and departures entrances. The canopies provide necessary shade, weather protection, and wayfinding for pedestrians entering and leaving the terminal.

Canopy Studies Image
Canopy Studies Image
Canopy Studies Image

ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) was chosen as the canopy material. This is a lightweight alternative to glass that provides similar light transmission properties while being incredibly more flexible. In addition, the flexible nature of ETFE permitted a relaxation of deflection criteria, allowing movement of the structure that would not have been possible using glass canopies. This allowed the supporting steel sections to be smaller, saving materials and space. This more efficient use of materials reflects Agencie’s commitment to cost-effectiveness and sustainability.

The canopy cantilevers presented a problem. How to achieve the required spans while keeping the structure lightweight and cost-effective? The use of tapered steel sections creates a structure that is more efficient than what could be achieved using standard sections.

Canopy Studies Image
Canopy Studies Image

The vast area of the canopies presented a challenge for our modelling team. The simplification of the structure into repetitive units of canopies streamlined the workflow for design and modeling, saving time and money.

The angle of the canopy was chosen to improve the pedestrian experience and offer shelter, while still maintaining necessary clearances at the roadway for emergency vehicles.

Canopy Studies Image
Canopy Studies Image
Canopy Studies Image

This project was met with several challenges, not the least of which was coordination with the civil engineers designing the roadway and utilities. Having roadways and buildings in such close proximity means that several engineering disciplines all intersect within the same space. Tight tolerances with the location of the roadway and underground utilities required excellence and precision in modelling and detailing the canopies. In addition, maintaining consistent and open communication between engineering disciplines helped to reduce conflicts in the construction plans.

Special Structures


Enclosure Engineering
Structural Engineering


Sarrah Khan, PE
Andres Cortes, AIA
Christian Berneking
Wanlapa Frey
Ali Molaei
José Torres
Celia Anh Linh Le Van
Susan Brewer