San Francisco International Airport Boarding Area E

Submitted by Gensler

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Client: San Francisco International Airport

Location: San Francisco, CA, United States

Completion date: 2014

Project Team

Interior Designer

Colleen Masusako

Gensler

Architect

Gensler

Architect

KPA Group

Other

Hensel Phelps, General Contractor

Artist

Wayne Thiebaud

Artist

Jay DeFeo

Artist

Merge Conceptual Design

Artist

Eric Staller

Other

KPA, Structural Engineer

Other

Glumac, MEP Engineer

Other

FM Booth, MEP Engineer

Other

PGH Wong, Construction Manager

Overview

The design for San Francisco International Airport’s renovated Terminal 3 Boarding Area E (T3BAE) showcases innovative design, commissioned art, interactive technology and a healthy environment carefully tuned to offer travelers a place where they will enjoy spending time. The 65,000-square-foot renovation features progressive sustainability measures that promote wellbeing, and is targeting LEED-Gold certification. An interactive “Flight Deck” experience serves as an exciting physical point of entry to Boarding Area E, which includes 10 gates serving United Airlines.

Goals

Two art installations were curated and designed for T3BAE, which are among an extraordinary selection of art owned by the airport, including works by Wayne Thiebaud and Jay DeFeo.

The team envisioned a unique lighting element sited above the central seating area at the end of the boarding area. The intent of the light feature would be a visual attraction to draw passengers from the entry to the end gates and serve as a visual punctuation. The selected artists, Merge Conceptual Design, pictured something atmospheric with a light, cloud-like appearance that would read in both the daytime as well as night, have a sculptural presence that could address the large scale of the space, and complement the architectural materials and design. The computerized light program changes the color and intensity of the lights and provides a meditative and absorbing focus for the viewer as they sit or stand under the sculpture.

Spirogyrate is an interactive artwork that engages both children and adults. The selected artist, Eric Staller, envisioned creating an environmental experience for visitors. The resulting artwork is an interactive kinetic light sculpture comprised of six-foot circular rotating spirals inset into the floor and the wall.

Process

Throughout the design process the artists met regularly with the design team to coordinate and integrate the design of their artwork into the larger construction project. This included more than just coordinating the placement of the art, but also covered the selection of compatible finish materials and the design of the types of structural support that would be needed. In a truly symbiotic relationship the artwork was designed to respond to the architecture, and the architecture designed to support the art. For example, to create Eric Staller’s rotating disks the design needed more depth added in the floor to accommodate the motors and disks than was available. The design and construction teams worked together to slope the floor slightly up around the art installation so that the art would have the cavity depth it needed.

Additional Information

The art exhibition program at SFO is one of the most diverse and broad art collections of any U.S. airport, and truly differentiates SFO from the others. Terminal 3 Boarding Area E carries on the tradition of reflecting life and culture in the Bay Area through its commissioned art, curated specifically with the goal of enhancing the passenger experience and bringing delight to young and old visitors alike.