Connecting Flight: Creating a Hub for the Alaskan Airlines Crew

Alaska Airlines’ newest “Hub” goes above and beyond to connect corporate workers with frontline employees running the airline at the airport and in the sky. Nicknamed “The Hub,” the six-story building would provide flexible and functional office space. The building needed to unite a broad range of business functions under one roof: a new recruiting center, uniform fit center and company store.



Practice Area


Alaska Airlines


The Challenge

In order to support an ever-expanding workforce that has grown 76% in the last five years, Alaska Airlines enlisted NBBJ to design a modern and efficient facility that could serve as the airline’s nerve center of operations and create a unified campus environment. Born in America’s hinterland, Alaska Airlines has called Sea-Tac home for seven decades and steadily grown from a small regional airline to the titan of West Coast aviation.

Project Vision

The goal of the environmental graphic system for The Hub was to create a welcoming place for Alaska employees to reside between flights, shop for uniforms, connect with other staff members, and work in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere. Wayfinding and landmark graphics and signage are designed to be branded and clear, but also add a bit of levity to the staff’s everyday experience.

The Aura of the Alaska Airlines brand identity is represented using fir planks to connect to the building architecture.

Benjamin Benschneider

Bold Welcome sign greets flight crews and visitors to Alaska Airlines’ new front door.

Sean Airhart

Flight routes with animations for each city is projected onto a dimensional map that creates visual interest even when the projection is turned off.

Benjamin Benschneider

Floor graphics placed at key decision points are inspired by aeronautical charts that help staff and visitors navigate the space with ease.

Sean Airhart

Design + Execution

Ultimately, The Hub hopes to connect Alaska’s operations in the region while representing the airline’s pioneering spirit and company culture that is committed to rising above the rest. Alaska Airlines has a unique past that, to many employees, is still undiscovered. The team set out to bring to life the unique history of Alaska through a digital interactive experience in the lobby, and the use of imagery, artifacts and anecdotes throughout the space, telling the story of how Alaska has grown into the prominent pioneering airline it is today.

Graphics in the two-story workflex space depict Alaska’s core values through symbolic placement on the columns that “hold up the organization.”

Sean Airhart

Fuselage airplane windows create a layer of privacy in conference and meeting rooms.

Sean Airhart

Ramp Marshall iconography, inspired by Alaska’s ground crew, is used to guide users to garage elevators and stairs.

Sean Airhart

Project Details
The project seems to bring the place to life with the airline's story with their landmark graphics. The most exciting moment for me was to see the graphics on the columns denoting their core values.
Juror 1
What an inspiring place to work and collaborate! I loved the incorporation of technical line drawings featuring aircraft as well as aeronautical signs and symbols in the building wayfinding and spatial graphics. They traverse concrete and drywall, floors and double-height walls, making full use of the building as a canvas for storytelling.
Juror 2
Design Team

Eric Levine (partner in charge)
Olin Nespor (design lead)
Katie Kratzer-Smith (designer)
Norman Ai (designer)
Celeste Robinette (designer)
Brooke Shary (project manager)


TubeArt Group
CREO Industrial Arts

Photo Credits

Benjamin Benschneider
Sean Airhart (photography)
Ryne Hill (videography)

Open Date

April 2020