14 features of the new terminal expansion of Vancouver International Airport (PHOTOS)

Jun 14 2022, 2:09 am

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) anticipates its passenger volumes could return to its pre-pandemic figures later this summer, potentially in a matter of just weeks — years earlier than anticipated.

Currently, the airport is experiencing a daily average volume of over 50,000 passengers — and this is visually evident not just in the domestic terminal, but now also in the international and US transborder terminals, and even from the luggage-carrying crowds boarding and disembarking SkyTrain at YVR Airport Station.

Just in time for the biggest travel season in years, the Pier D international terminal building expansion officially fully opened earlier this month, providing significantly more capacity to accommodate the surging passenger loads.

The $300-million expansion reached completion in early 2021, but it was largely unused over the past year and a half due to the lack of demand for it — up until recently.

The Pier D expansion adds 300,000 sq ft of floor area, including eight additional gates — four double bridge gates to accommodate larger planes, and four bus gates — as well as ample new retail and dining services, amenities, and other creature comforts that can be expected for a world-class airport. It is YVR’s single largest terminal building expansion since the modernization of the airport in 1996.

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Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The expansion was designed by Kasian Architecture, and the construction team was led by PCL Construction. The design expands on and evolves the airport’s well-established West Coast nature-inspired themes and motifs.

Daily Hive Urbanized was provided with a tour of the new expansion last week. Here is what you can expect to find and see:

1. A breath of fresh air

The centrepiece of the Pier D expansion is its one-of-a-kind outdoor enclosure that simulates the natural outdoors of BC. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels enclose an opening in the roof that exposes a forest and coastal-like environment to weather — complete with real trees in real soil that was “blown” into the space during construction.

And the space is fully accessible to passengers, providing them with an opportunity to get some fresh air while waiting for their flight.

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The enclosed outdoor space in the atrium of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

The enclosed outdoor space in the atrium of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

The enclosed outdoor space in the atrium of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

The enclosed outdoor space in the atrium of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

The enclosed outdoor space in the atrium of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

2. Immersive digital experiences

Intricate projection and lighting systems have been installed into both the outdoor enclosure and the large indoor atrium space, providing nighttime illumination of the simulated forest environment and on the massive Level 5 finish ceiling, which serves as a giant canvas for projections.

Additionally, glass panels on both the enclosure and along the elevated walkway for arrivals passengers have also been given an added digital layover to display images that further enhance the nature-inspired theming. The elevated walkway above the atrium specifically features a digital ribbon on the glass, which is activated by the walking movements of arrivals passengers.

These state-of-the-art immersive digital experiences, designed by Vancouver-based Eos Lightmedia, are also synchronized with the real weather conditions outside the airport.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Digital screen and tide pool simulation at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Projection and illumination equipment for the enclosed outdoor space in the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

3. Tide pools

Wrapping around a portion of the glass enclosure is a rocky formation that simulates the tide pools of BC’s coastline. The water levels inside these pools repeatedly rise and fall throughout the day to simulate the ever-changing tides (but note: the starfish in these pools are not real).

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Future restaurant and tide pool simulation at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Tide pool simulation at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Future restaurant and tide pool simulation at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

4. New retail and dining options

A handful of retail units that surround the atrium are temporarily boarded up. Work is now commencing to open up these businesses in 2023, which will include retail such as a duty-free shop and a market-style dining establishment, adjacent to ample seating.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

The future restaurant space in the atrium of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Seating areas next to the future restaurant at Pier D expansion’s atrium at Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Future retail space at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

5. “Dive under the sea” into the bus gates

The entrance into bus gates 60 and 61, leading to the ground floor of the building, is located adjacent to the atrium. The unmissable entrance is marked by a dramatic “dive under the sea” theme, and the aquatic scheme meanders throughout the ceiling of the bus gate floor below.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

The “dive under the sea” entrance into the bus gates of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

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Bus gate level at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

6. Upper lounge area

An upper seating area accessible to everyone overlooks the entire atrium space — an optimal lookout for people watching or for some relative solitude from the busy activity below. Another upper space that overlooks the atrium, but is currently completely unfurnished, will be leased to an airline in the future for their own private lounge experience.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Upper lounge area of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Upper lounge area of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

7. Yoga space

It wouldn’t be Vancouver’s airport without a dedicated yoga space; a small section of the upper lounge area is specifically set aside for yoga exercise.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Yoga space in the upper lounge area in the atrium of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

8. Prayer room

A multi-faith prayer room — complete with seating and a washing station — is accessible from the upper lounge area.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Multi-faith prayer room at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Multi-faith prayer room at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Multi-faith prayer room at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

9. Quiet room

Accessible from the upper lounge area is a dedicated quiet room, with specially designed seating that further helps insulate any noise for users.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Quiet room at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Quiet room at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

10. Dog washrooms

Pier D provides YVR with two additional dedicated pet relief areas. The improved design of these facilities reduces potential odours.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Pet relief area at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Pet relief area at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

11. Changing places washroom

Pier D provides a “changing places washroom” to support individuals with multiple and complex disabilities who require an overheard hoist system and height-adjustable, adult-sized changing bench to use the washroom safely and comfortably.

yvr changing place washroom

Changing places washroom in the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

12. Nursing room

Additional purpose-built nursing room facilities have been provided in the Pier D expansion.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Purpose-designed nursing station at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

13. Hot drinking water stations

Due to popular demand, Pier D’s traditional cold drinking water stations are accompanied by adjacent hot drinking water stations.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Cold and hot water stations at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

14. Ample seating and charging

A wide variety of seating options can be found across the Pier D expansion, along with a new style of charing units as part of the seating areas.

Oval-shaped, high-top tables double as not only seating and charging areas, but this furniture also creatively conceals air diffusers below the table.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Seating areas at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Seating areas at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Seating areas in the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Seating areas in the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Seating areas in the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

The children’s play area at the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

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