Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal A wins prestigious Prix Versailles special prize

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently announced that Newark Liberty International Airport’s new Terminal A has been awarded a 2023 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Prix Versailles Special Prize for the terminal’s exterior.

The global architecture and design award underscores the agency’s comprehensive efforts to transform its outdated airports into modern 21st-century facilities that are worthy of both industry and global recognition.

The Prix Versailles award, established in 2015, aims to highlight “intelligent sustainability” as a cultural driver, touching on every aspect of the built environment. Recipients, as cited by UNESCO, are selected for the “qualities of innovation, creativity, reflection of local, natural and cultural heritage, and ecological efficiency, as well as the values of social interaction and participation, which the United Nations holds in high regard.”

Terminal A was selected for a special prize from among six nominees across three continents in the airports category. La Guardia Airport’s Terminal B received the 2021 Prix Versailles award for best new airport.

“We’re gratified that industry and design experts agree with what the New Jersey/New York region already knows: Our reimagined airports are among the world’s best, thanks to the ambitious goals and tireless work of the Port Authority and our partners,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “We’re pleased to see this distinguished panel agree that Terminal A’s distinctive architecture, intuitive engineering and sustainable design work in concert for an airport experience that’s among the best in the world.”

“Newark Liberty’s Terminal A is the embodiment of our commitment to offer a top-tier customer experience from curb to gate, with a New Jersey sense of place and world-class amenities in an extraordinary space that offers a fitting welcome to the region,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “We’re immensely proud to add another accolade just two years after our last Prix Versailles win for La Guardia’s Terminal B, and we expect more to come as our $30 billion airport redevelopment work continues.”

Newark Liberty’s Terminal A features a sleek, modern design that evokes New Jersey’s identity as the Garden State through several diamond-shaped skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows. The distinctive architecture emphasizes spaciousness and functionality that offers travelers uninterrupted sightlines and abundant natural light. The design works in combination with state-of-the-art digital technology and modern amenities to create an intuitive and comfortable passenger experience.

Opened in early 2023, the 1 million-square-foot Terminal A was delivered as part of a design-build consortium led by Tutor Perini/Parsons JV, with Grimshaw as the design architect in partnership with STV as executive architect. The $2.7 billion project represented both the Port Authority’s largest-ever investment in New Jersey and the state’s largest design-build project.

In addition to its award-winning aesthetics, the facility received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council thanks to its energy-efficient design, rooftop solar panels, efficient lighting and water fixtures and “cool roof” to reflect sunlight.

The next phase of the Port Authority’s ongoing transformation of Newark Liberty International Airport will be developed through the work of a world-class airport master planner selected by the agency last year. The EWR Vision Plan — which will serve as a framework for future development through 2065 — will incorporate plans for long-term economic growth, sustainability projects and multimodal access to the airport for both work and travel.