From a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering perspective, designing and constructing a contemporary executive lounge has several challenges. Some that we encountered on this project include:
Hidden out of view to lounge visitors, the production kitchen was the most challenging part of the design for the mechanical and plumbing teams. This huge kitchen needed to churn out global cuisine around the clock. The kitchen served two separate areas: a more casual open dining area and a private sit-down dining experience.
The starting point for the kitchen was challenging: our team had to combine several small kitchens from the previous mini-lounges into one giant kitchen. Although it seems simple at first, many of the utility lines were not large enough to serve a single massive kitchen. In coordination with the DFW airport facility teams, our engineers worked to re-size new sanitary waste lines. We relocated connections and routings to suit the new kitchen layout.
A major design challenge for commercial kitchens is the removal of grease-laden air from the space. Exhaust air from a kitchen hood that contains grease and smoke from cooking has a higher likelihood of catching fire. Special ductwork called grease duct is traditionally used to capture and transport kitchen exhaust. Although effective at removing the greasy, smokey air, grease duct is not a perfect solution. It requires regular maintenance and cleaning of the ductwork. And it must be routed to a special outlet for exhausting to the exterior.
Instead of using grease duct, RWB’s mechanical team incorporated a unique grease extraction design for the large production kitchen. With this approach, it removes the grease from the air and dispensed directly into the sanitary waste line. The remaining cleansed exhaust air can then be contained in normal exhaust ductwork without requiring special handling or maintenance. This was the first use of this design approach in any space Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The team at RWB Consulting Engineers met with DFW’s building officials and the fire marshals to ensure compliance.
As the superior American Airlines lounge, the Flagship lounge was built with several top end finishings. Perhaps more obvious to the average traveler are the dazzling chandeliers, inviting armchairs, and attractive artwork pieces. But the AA team didn’t stop there.
To create a continuous sense of luxury, the highest quality catering and serving appliances were used in the open dining area. That includes upscale refrigerators, hot and cold slabs, and soup containers. The lounge also included a champagne bar along with a more traditional bar, all with high-end appointments. The final look and feel of the serving area required a clean, minimalist look. This was an added challenge for our plumbing team.
Our electrical team also faced a challenge in the design process. With multiple outlets at every seat in the massive airport lounge, our electrical engineers worked to ensure the final design could support such a large simultaneous power draw. Additionally, a complex web of electrical circuits minimized the risk of down time for plugs.