RKTB was brought in as the key design consultant to the Port Authority for the AirTrain Terminal at Jamaica Station in 1997. This large complex is the key transfer point for the light rail system that links the Long Island Railroad and NYC subway system with John F. Kennedy Airport. RKTB was involved in all aspects of the project from its inception, but was given primary responsibility in several significant areas. These include the vertical transportation systems, the Westerly Bridge, all platform facilities, all street-level and subway-level facilities, temporary structures, and facilitation of historic compliance and approval.
Beyond the functional need of transferring people, the new terminal at Jamaica Station was designed to visually and symbolically present the image of an airport 'gateway,’ giving AirTrain patrons the feel of arriving within the airport environment. Once baggage is checked in at the concourse, a short eight-minute train ride to the airport takes passengers directly to their terminals. A new vertical circulation building adjacent to the south of the terminal houses the AirTrain concourse and platforms as well as LIRR support facilities. New pedestrian bridges spanning over the railroad tracks connect subway, railroad and passengers, incorporating the latest in accessible transportation technology. Large, vaulted steel sheds providing a dramatic new image for the station surmount these bridges. Climate-controlled street and subway-level connections have also been created.
The Project Team received a 2002 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.