sfo t2, san francisco airport, green renovation, gensler, turner construction, eco airport

The revamped airline terminal (SFO T2) will provide 14 gates for American Airlines and Virgin Airlines, which will be capable of handling 5.5 million enplaned passengers. All of the facilities — from public transportation, to arrivals, ticketing, security, restaurants, airport amenities, gates, and even the baggage claim are receiving streamlined modern updates. Travelers will also enjoy convenient access to the new terminal from the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) line via the airport’s Airtram system.

Employees and travelers will arrive in beautiful daylit ticketing concourse that makes use of a transparent facade, clerestory windows, and skylights. Intuitive signage and expansive daylighting will help ease the confusion of navigating through the airport, and after clearing through one of the most advanced security areas in the world, travelers will enjoy a comfortable lounge to redress and recompose themselves.

After security, travelers and employees can enjoy a number of different activities while waiting for their flights. New restaurants will feature local and organic food, showing off the best of Bay Area cuisine, artisans, food producers and more. New lounge-like waiting areas offer a variety of seating, plus plug-in charging stations, elevated work counters, and free wireless internet. An interactive and educational childrens’ play area will keep the little ones entertained, providing a more enjoyable experience for parents, children and travelers.

sfo t2, san francisco airport, green renovation, gensler, turner construction, eco airport

Sustainability-wise, green building strategies are incorporated throughout the entire renovation to save energy, reduce waste, and provide a healthier and less stressful traveling experience. An innovative displacement ventilation system will deliver superior air quality throughout the terminal while using 20% less energy than conventional systems. Overall, energy use will be 15% lower than an airline terminal designed to California’s building codes. Water-efficient fixtures support a reclaimed water plant will in reducing water usage by 40%.

Much of the original terminal is being reused in the renovation as a way to decrease the use of virgin materials, and a number of environmentally-friendly building materials have been incorporated throughout, like Terrazzo, a recycled flooring product. The airport will also be implementing an aggressive recycling policy and will be composting all food waste. SFO T2 will incorporate ‘Hydration Stations‘ throughout the terminal to allow travelers to refill their reusable water bottles instead of purchasing plastic bottled water.

SFO is the only US airport that is also an accredited art museum, and installations are incorporated throughout the terminal — from a cloud-like hanging installation in the ticketing area to an interactive display in the baggage claim. Education is a large component of the redesign, and the city hopes that the airport will encourage sustainable action from both travelers and employees. The $383 million renovation is expected to be completed this coming April.

Gensler has created a fantastic interactive map of the renovated terminal, which you can download as a PDF or iPad document.


The San Francisco Airport’s new international terminal features smart green design strategies that cut energy use by 15%, reduce water use by 40%, and decrease the use of virgin materials. The airport will also feature healthy locally-sourced food and will contribute to social sustainability through art installations and exhibitions.

+ Gensler

+ Turner Construction

Images Courtesy of Gensler