Ecco Restaurant Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport

Atlanta, GA

Structural design for a 4,365 SF free standing restaurant located in Atlanta’s Hartsfield- Jackson International Airport. The restaurant is structurally independent with the exception of reinforcement of the floor structure to support the new super-structure. A unique combination of long spanning tube steel was used to simulate timber framing while concealing the lateral system moment frame within the walls. This project won the 2014 American Council of Engineering Consultants Georgia (GA/ACEC) Honor Award

Project Details

We were tasked to design a unique one of a kind structure within a structure at the world’s busiest airport’s new Maynard H Jackson International Terminal. The owner and architect wanted to create a “mini-me” version of the same old-world feel as the award winning design of the Ecco Midtown Atlanta restaurant, with a contemporary setting of rich woods, dim lighting, marble, granite and unique artwork. The casually elegant design and sophisticated atmosphere coalesces with the soaring glass entrance, alluring in-door patio, stunning bar, modern dining room, and compelling exhibition kitchen.

The design team had to re-imagine the original design concept in an entirely new way while maintaining the brand and iconic elements that locals have come to associate with the Ecco Restaurant in Midtown Atlanta. One of the main features is the structural steel entry canopy. It sits high on the mezzanine once you clear security in the airport. The design team focused on positioning the entry sequence just right for maximum visibility. This carefully crafted experience began humbly when the design team was notified there was no existing structure on the Mezzanine Club Level for a restaurant. There was also no ceiling or roof structure that could be used to suspend the new ceiling/roof structure required to define the restaurant shell. And due to height restrictions, the new structure depth was limited to 8 inches. Consequently a unique blend and use of existing materials and structure types was required to create the space. The structure depth restrictions required the ceiling and roof structure to be one in the same. Therefore, tube steel was used due to its long spanning capability compared to other light weight non-combustible materials and appearance similar to the exposed framing in the Midtown restaurant. The horizontal roof/ceiling deck utilized Tectum Panels spanning between the tube steel members with exposed fasteners at the underside as a design feature. The Tectum Panels also served as the structural horizontal diaphragm. According to the engineers at Tectum, this was a unique application of their product. Due to the number of architectural door and window openings, the lateral system had to be structural steel moment frame concealed within the walls around the wall openings. To minimize weight and deflection considerations faux brick was used adjacent to the structural steel entry feature to simulate the brick exterior of the Midtown location. Supplemental structural steel was required at the floor below to support the columns of the new super-structure. And to complicate matters further, demolition of recently completed finishes had to be minimized and the structural engineering had to be completed within a two week time frame to help make up for previous delays.

This project shows how structural engineering design can be uniquely applied in order to realize an architectural concept for the benefit of the new Ecco Restaurant, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and its travelers for years to come. For this project, the design team had to re-imagine this concept in an entirely new way while maintaining the brand and iconic elements that locals have come to associate with the Ecco Restaurant in Midtown Atlanta. The restaurant design successfully anchored the club level food court at the new international terminal and serves as a draw to some of Atlanta’s other local flare. So much so that the food court won Best Airport Food Court Award at the Moodie Report’s 3rd Annual Airport Food & Beverage Awards and Conference held in October of this year in Dubai.