A Look at the Port of Portland’s Plans to Kinfolk the PDX Airport Roof

The curved wooden ceiling was introduced as an Instagram rival for the old, cult status airport carpet.

Portland International Airport is undergoing renovations, but you may not feel it just yet.

For much of 2021, the Port of Portland has been deep into its PDX Next plan to open the airport’s main terminal and make it a welcoming, airy wash of light and curved timber. But the main piece of that lovely construction—a curved wooden roof that was introduced as an Instagram rival for the the old, cult status PDX airport carpet—is actually being built offsite, with plans to move it whole hog once it’s ready.

“How do you build a new roof over a major airport that’s always in motion?” reads a Port of Portland press release. “Construct the entire structure—including skylights, insulation, mechanical components and finishes—in one place, and then move it to another.”

The roof, all 392,000 square feet of it, is being built in a lot adjacent to the international airport, “in pieces, or ‘modules’, with plans to move it across the airfield.” The project will utilize the combined might of Skanska and Hoffman construction companies, which have formed a sort of construction company Optimus Prime called Hoffman Skanska Joint Venture to manage such an undertaking.

“Each roof module will be…hoisted up and slid into place, almost like they’re massive cassette tapes,” the Port of Portland promises.

Although the mock-ups suggest a lot of wood on both the ceilings and the floors, the Port of Portland assures travelers PDX will “still have plenty of carpet.”

Further developments to look forward to in the PDX Next plan are the eventual opening of a Screen Door satellite brunch spot and a Good Coffee in Concourse B—supposedly happening this year but it’s certainly running out of 2021 runway. In 2023, there’s a PDX Next plan to add a ride share center to help with all that unnecessary jumble at departures and arrivals. The Port of Portland projects the main terminal and all the plan’s adjustments will be in place and completed by 2025.