The Mineta San Jose International Airport celebrated a grand opening this week for the renovation/expansion of its Terminal A, a new Terminal B and a 3,000-space consolidated rental car facility, designed by Fentress Architects and constructed by Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

Mineta San Jose International Airport Unveils Renovation/Expansion Project
Photo: Jason A. Knowles @ Fentress Architects

The airport hosted its first flight out of Terminal B on June 30 as the most technologically advanced airport in the U.S. in the heart of the Silicon Valley�a world hub for cutting-edge technologies and innovations.

SJC now operates 28 gates for its 13 airlines, with an annual capacity of 14.4 million.

�Just before we hired Fentress Architects and Hensel Phelps, we were $150 million over budget,� says Bill Sherry, director of aviation at SJC. �Now we�re more than $140 million under budget and celebrating the opening of the modernization one year earlier than if we�d done it as design-bid-build. The result has been an outstanding partnership that has delivered a beautiful, comfortable, and efficient airport for passengers and airlines alike.�

In 2005, the airport launched a $1.3 billion Terminal Area Improvement Program to provide a world-class passenger experience befitting Silicon Valley. The $660-million design-build project components, led by Hensel Phelps and Fentress Architects, include system modernizations and aesthetic upgrades to Terminal A, a new Terminal B to replace Terminal C, and airport roadway and parking improvements, including a new consolidated rental car facility known as ConRAC.

Known for their innovations, San Jose residents produce more U.S. patents than any other city. Fentress� state-of-the-art design honors these accomplishments by embracing the region�s reputation as one of the world�s premier technology hubs and providing the best in modern comfort and technology innovations.

�Since this is Silicon Valley�s airport, we knew the community wanted an iconic form to honor the region�s innovative soul,� says Curtis Fentress, principal-in-charge of design, Fentress Architects.

Conducted as fast-track, design-build, Fentress Architects and Hensel Phelps Construction Co. designed and built more than 2.2 million sq ft of building space in less than four years at SJC, an airport that operates nearly 24/7. SJC�s modernization is the largest design-build airport project in the U.S. The design-build team, in collaboration with the city of San Jose, saved over $290 million on the budget and completed the project one year earlier by leveraging the design-build process, instead of design-bid-build.

Terminal B features the nation�s first �air chair,� called the Zenky Air Chair, which provides fresh air directly to passengers from below each seat, along with individual power outlets for charging passenger laptops and mobile devices. Developed by SJC airport officials, Zoeftig, and Fentress Architects, 1,200 �air chairs� in Terminal B transport conditioned air throughout the concourse more efficiently than a standard air defusing system, saving energy and ensuring comfort for travelers. About 25% of seating now provides direct conditioned air and personal outlets for electronics.

In its commitment to provide a safe, world-class travel experience, San Jose�s Terminals A and B will debut the most technologically advanced automated in-line baggage screening system in the world. Using four CTX 9800s as its foundation, each terminal can scan up to 1,800 bags an hour. The eight new, fully-automated scanners can process as much luggage as the previous 24 machines.

The revolutionary technology scans the bags while they are moving so they don�t have to stop, as required by prior scanners. This innovative baggage system enhances operational efficiency for both TSA and SJC�s carriers and reduces labor and risk of injury.

The hands of 54 Silicon Valley residents greet the world from SJC on a mural spanning 1,200 ft and seven stories high on the eastern side of the new consolidated rental car facility and public parking garage. Created by international artist Christian Moeller, the compelling fa�ade known as �Hands� was constructed from two layers of architectural metal mesh.

San Jose is the only airport in the San Francisco Bay area with a rental car facility adjacent to its terminals. The seven-deck, 3,000-space garage, known as ConRAC, is located across from Terminals A and B and houses all airport rental car operations, along with 320 street-level public parking spaces.

The project team includes the city of San Jose (owner); Hensel Phelps (design builder); Fentress Architects, Gensler and Steinberg Architects (master plan); Fentress Architects (design architect and architect of record for Terminals A, B and C); Magnusson Klemencic Associates (structural engineer for Terminal B); Martin / Martin (structural engineer for Terminals A and C); AECOM (civil engineer); Critchfield Mechanical (mechanical); Rosendin Electric (electrical); AECOM (MEP); Fentress Architects (fa�ade architect for ConRAC); TranSystems (architect of record for ConRAC); and Watry Design, Inc. (structural engineer for ConRAC).