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LaGuardia Airport’s new $4 billon Terminal B wins prestigious UNESCO award

LaGuardia Airport's new $4 billion Terminal B is named the best new airport in the world by a panel of international judges assembled by UNESCO. (Photo courtesy of Port Authority)

LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B has won the prestigious 2021 Prix Versaille, the global architecture and design award, for best new airport in the world by a panel of judges assembled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Last year, the Prix Versailles was awarded to Beijing Daxing International Airport. This year, LaGuardia beat out six other nominees including Berlin’s new airport.

“Almost everyone thought this was impossible,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “Since beginning construction of a whole new LaGuardia five years ago, we promised an airport that would go from worst to best, taking its place among the world’s finest airports. That’s no longer a promise; it’s an achievement confirmed by a panel of international judges. From cutting-edge architectural design to world-class amenities to inspirational public art alongside state-of-the-art technology, LaGuardia’s Terminal B is leading the transformation of our airports to best-in-class.”

LaGuardia Airport’s new $4 billion Terminal B (Photo courtesy of Port Authority)
LaGuardia Airport’s new $4 billion Terminal B (Photo courtesy of Port Authority)

In announcing this year’s award, UNESCO cited the “qualities of innovation, creativity, a 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.”

Situated on the western side of the airport, the new Terminal B opened its four-story, natural light-filled arrivals and departures hall in 2020. The latest section of new gates opened earlier this month, bringing the total number of new gates open so far to 30, spread across two concourses connected to the arrivals and departures halls by the world’s first dual-pedestrian skybridges.

“We’re honored to receive the UNESCO Prix VersaillesWorld Architecture and Design Award,” LaGuardia Gateway Partners CEO Frank Scremin said. “Our vision was to completely elevate and transform the Terminal B experience, incorporating world-class public art, sought-after amenities, iconic architecture and state-of-the-art technology. We’re proud to be recognized as the best airport by the UNESCO panel of judges.”

The annual Prix Versailles awards, created in 2015 to promote the relationship between culture and commerce, recognizes the most remarkable structures, in terms of both interior and exterior architecture.

LaGuardia Airport’s new $4 billion Terminal B (Photo courtesy of Port Authority)

Because the award is associated with the Palace of Versailles, it aspires for this world-renowned symbol of beauty and elegance to serve not as a model but as a beacon and impetus for quality commercial architecture, according to UNESCO.

“The Prix Versailles is a testament to the vision and hard work of the Port Authority and our private partners at LaGuardia Gateway Partners,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “And we’re not done yet. With Delta’s Terminal C at LaGuardia set to open next year, a 21st-century, world-class Terminal A set to open at Newark also set to open next year, and a nearly $15 billion transformation underway at JFK, we are transforming our airports from back-of-the-pack to world-class.”

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