San Francisco International Airport, Terminal 3, Boarding Area E

CompanyGensler
Lead DesignerJeff Henry
ClientMeliss Mizell
Prize(s)1st Place in Interior Design
Entry Description

Building on the success of San Francisco International
Airport's Terminal 2, SFO, the construction and project
team set out to transform Terminal 3's Boarding Area E, an
outdated section of the terminal built in the 1970's, into a
world class terminal. The existing floor plate was expanded
to accommodate more gates and provide a more spacious
array of waiting and concessions spaces, and new
perimeter glazing opened up views to the airfield. A new
roof allows a sculpted ceiling plane to bring daylight deep
into the space, resulting in a light and airy feeling. Now
serving over 15,000 United passengers a day and
highlighting service, hospitality and comfort,

Architectural Highlights
• The design offers a modern and efficient traveler
experience, and employs a range of expressive
architectural elements to frame views to the airfield and
sky. Designers also sculpted and controlled daylight in a
variety of ways, creating spaces which change in character
throughout the day and year.
• The team used topography as the inspiration for both the
spatial layout and the textural nature of the space. Retail
and dining dot the landscape as a series of visual and
physical destinations while uninterrupted terminal views
give passengers a sense of control over their environment
—mitigating travel related stress and resulting in a more
fluid, relaxing and enjoyable experience.
• With tapered edges overhanging clerestory glazing, the
roof is structured with lightweight, long-span trusses
concealed within a finished architectural ceiling. This
approach allowed designers to remove the existing middle
two rows of structural columns, creating an open and
flexible plan.