By Dominique Davison
This February, our DRAW team has the honor of participating in the opening celebrations of our new Kansas City International terminal. DRAW Architecture + Urban Design supported the Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) team as the local architect on all the public interior spaces – an enormously exciting opportunity for our mid-sized firm. This is a professional highlight for me and a very personal one. It carries with it so many connections – to the past, present, and future.
My father passed away four years before we started working on the airport in 2017. He was a 747-400 airline pilot who loved the convenience of our (now previous) airport. He and my mother met on a flight to Beirut while both were working for Pan Am. So It can be said without the airlines, I wouldn’t exist! Their whirlwind romance was intertwined with their aeronautical lives, which I grew up feeling a part of. I was frequently on planes, flying standby and traveling the world with my parents.
Dominique’s Father (on right) during an equipment check.
More specifically, to this new KCI terminal, another connection, the original MCI airport opened in 1972, one year before I was born. Unfortunately, it instantly needed updates to its security systems and layout due to the airplane and airport-focused terrorist attacks that started in the early 1970s. My father, then a co-pilot, was a survivor of one such attack on the tarmac of Rome. He thankfully recovered – and continued flying.
Dominique’s Father in the cockpit.
Just a few months later, as he was flying over the Atlantic, he received the news, while in the cockpit, of the arrival of his new baby girl. That was February 28th, 1973. In an extraordinary coincidence, the new terminal will open on my 50th birthday. Even though everyone in Kansas City will be celebrating the new KCI terminal, I’ll be thinking about how the entire first-class section enjoyed a champagne toast when I was born. I will think of my mom and dad and how grateful I am for the life aviation has gifted me.
Dominique and her Mother, on a trip to Paris.
My husband, a heartland native, and I moved to Kansas City nearly twenty years ago, and the KCI airport then became a vital part of how I physically connected to my family on the coasts. Airports are where people leap great distances to embrace loved ones. Airports are where people take flight to explore new parts of the world. The new KCI terminal is no exception, already extending the evolution of Kansas Citians and DRAW economically and opportunistically.
DRAW has worked as an integral part of the Edgemoor/CWC team to create the most inclusive terminal in the US, if not the world. Besides working side by side with SOM on all the interior spaces, DRAW designed the smart and inclusive restrooms, the international arrivals area, the sensory room, and the reflection space. I had the honor of directing the placement of the stones in the head-house feature wall, a beautiful striated marble from our home state of Missouri. We collaborated with SOM on the design of the arrivals floor, introducing the motif of irrigation circles in the landscape seen while flying into the airport – a reference to our agrarian heritage. It was important that the design of the interior feel connected to who we are as a community. The KCAD ownership team supported and encouraged this at every turn.
I was always so proud to fly with my dad when he wore his captain’s uniform – walking with him through the airport or seeing him emerge from the cockpit to check on me while in flight. I feel a similar pride in our DRAW team as we show our families and community the results of years of hard work to create this legacy project.
I offer a heartfelt thank you for allowing us to be a part of the new KCI terminal, and Congratulations to the Kansas City Region!