Prepared for Takeoff
A Gensler-designed concourse at California's San José airport looks as aerodynamic as a Gulfstream G650
Stephen Treffinger -- Interior Design, 10/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
The 1,600-foot-long building's steel inner shell emerges at the end; photo by Sherman Takata.
As the hub for all of Silicon Valley, plus the 10th-largest city in the U.S., California's Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport had become a bit inadequate. Facilities were outdated; there weren't enough gates to accommodate the growing population. Gensler helped change that. The firm, assisted by Steinberg Architects, has completed phase one of a two-part modernization: a $324 million concourse, part of the new Terminal B.
An early drawing details the waiting area, courtesy of Terrence Young/Gensler.
For arriving passengers, the long structure is meant to look like a partially stripped data cable. But that's actually a second skin. Unlike your standard terminal building, Gensler's has a steel inner shell, essentially just a place to anchor a framework of galvanized-steel pipes that function much like the supports for a billboard. In this case, however, they display not advertising images but gently curving panels of perforated anodized aluminum. The metal layer reduces thermal gain while glowing coppery in the morning sunshine. By night, fiber-optic cables, mounted randomly behind, give off an eerie glow.
It's composed of 4-by-10-foot panels of custom-perforated anodized aluminum; courtesy of Steven Hergert/Gensler.
In the waiting area, a 1,600-foot-long paseo, glass takes over as the dominant material. A curtain wall looks onto the runway, while a skylit roof swoops between the two rows of clerestories. The views and airiness "capture San José's indoor-outdoor lifestyle, giving travelers a tangible sense of the region," principal Steve Weindel says. To reduce heat gain, shades can cover the curtain wall and clerestories.
A computer-controlled lighting system turns off the waiting area's sconces when it's sunny enough; courtesy of Steven Hergert/Gensler.
To cool the concourse further, a low-velocity system oozes, rather than blows, air through diffusers at ground level. The air can be delivered at 65 degrees Fahrenheit—as opposed to the arctic, energy-guzzling feed of traditional systems—because only a 6-foot band needs climate control, not the entire upper volume. Of course, San José's delightful climate makes the task easier. "The weather is beautiful," senior associate Steven Hergert says. "Having been on a job-site trailer for nearly two years, I can vouch that's true."
Redwood veneers the paneling; courtesy of Steven Hergert/Gensler.
FROM FRONT OVERLY MANUFACTURING COMPANY: CUSTOM PANELS (EXTERIOR). CENTRIA ARCHITECTURAL SYSTEMS: FASTENER PANELS. RAYMOND GROUP: COLUMN COVERS, BULKHEADS (WAITING AREA). LINDNER THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL INTERIORS: CEILING SYSTEM. HOXAN CORPORATION THROUGH LBI/BOYD: PANEL VENEER. SUPER SKY: CUSTOM SKYLIGHTS. RAMBUSCH: SCONCES. PRICE INDUSTRIES: DIFFUSERS. NYSAN SOLAR CONTROL: WINDOW SHADES. THROUGHOUT WILSON IHRIG & ASSOCIATES: ACOUSTICAL CONSULTANT. WSP FLACK AND KURTZ: LIGHTING CONSULTANT, MEP. MAGNUSSON KLEMENCIC ASSOCIATES: STRUCTURAL ENGINEER. URS CORPORATION: CIVIL ENGINEER. HMH: SURVEYOR. BECK STEEL; GAYLE MANUFACTURING COMPANY: METALWORK. CALIFORNIA ERECTORS: STRUCTURAL STEEL CONTRACTOR. ARCHITECTURAL GLASS AND ALUMINUM: CURTAIN WALL CONTRACTOR. GRAZZINI BROTHERS & COMPANY: FLOORING CONTRACTOR. CLARK CONSTRUCTION GROUP: GENERAL CONTRACTOR. GILBANE: CONSTRUCTION MANAGER.