Address
San Francisco, CA 94128
Year Constructed
2000
Structural Engineering Firm(s)
Structural Engineer(s)
  • Navin R. Amin
Architect(s)
Craig W. Hartman (Skidmore Owings & Merrill), Keith Boswell (Skidmore Owings & Merrill), Michael Duncan (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), Del Campo & Maru, Michael Willis & Associates, Joint Venture Architects
Main Contractor
Tutor Saliba, Periri Corporation, Buckley & Co. (JV), The Herrick Corporation
Media
San Francisco International Airport Terminal Building
San Francisco International Airport Terminal Building
Source: SOM
San Francisco International Airport Terminal Building
San Francisco International Airport Terminal Building
Source: NBC Bay Area
View from the front
View from the front
Source: SOM
Truss - Interior View
Truss - Interior View
Source: SOM
Steel Tubular T-Y-K Joint
Steel Tubular T-Y-K Joint
Source: SOM
Edge of Roof Truss
Edge of Roof Truss
Source: SOM
Base Isolator
Base Isolator
Source: SOM
Structure Description

Designed and constructed from 1994 to 2000, the International Terminal Building (ITB) at San Francisco International Airport is the centerpiece of the airport’s mid-1990’s expansion and modernization program. Its completion greatly increased the efficiency and capacity of all international arrivals and departures with 26 new gates and maintains San Francisco’s standing as America’s gateway to the Pacific Rim. The five-story structure represents a watershed in the integration of structural and architectural design. The main roof structure consists of five sets of steel balanced double cantilever trusses with a central trussed span linked together creating a continuous wing-like form. The long-span roof structure is supported on 20 cantilevered columns rising from the third floor departures level. The system of trusses with up to 29 ft deep, spans 380 ft at its center and 160 ft at each end cantilever with an overall length of 860 ft. The main Terminal’s glass-enclosed “great hall” – 705 ft long, 210 ft wide, and up to 83 ft high – creates a dramatic departure point for travelers, but does so with an economy of form and material. The exposed steel trusses utilize steel tubular T-Y-K joint detailing and fabrication techniques of trusses sitting on spherical ball-joints atop the cantilevered concrete filled steel box columns.

Significance to Structural Engineering History in Northern California

The ITB consists of an integrated and innovative creative solution to complex project requirements and constraints. It was a significant accomplishment to keep airport roadways operational during construction. Framed in structural steel, the structure includes 1.8 million sq. ft. of framed steel area (25,200 tons); 172,000 sq. ft. of exposed trussed steel roof (4,040 tons including main roof cantilevered box columns); and 760 tons of exposed steel at the ITB departures level window walls and entrance canopy. Roof trusses were fully assembled at the Mare Island fabrication shop and then disassembled into some 35 major pieces to minimize field connections and shipped directly to the site on barges. Once completed, trusses were jacked into position and pinned in place. Foundations include 6000 precast prestressed concrete piles extending 80 to 140 feet below grade. Located in close proximity to Northern California’s seismically active San Andreas and Hayward earthquake fault systems, the ITB utilizes a strategy of seismic base isolation. The isolation system consists of 267 single concave friction pendulum “cast steel” isolation bearings, installed above pile-supported foundations and over entry roadways, allowing up to 20 inches of lateral displacement.

Awards
  • SEAONC Award of Excellence, Landmark Structures (2001)
  • SEAOC Award of Excellence, Landmark Structures (2001)
  • AISC Engineering Award of Excellence, Award of Merit (2001)
  • AISC/AIA National Winner, Innovative Use of Steel (2001)
  • AIA California Council Honor Award (2001)
  • SEAOI Excellence in Structural Engineering, Award of Merit (2002)
  • AIA San Francisco Honor Award for Architecture (2002)
  • AIA National Honor Award for Architecture (2002)
  • AIA California Council Honor Award, Energy Efficiency Integration (2002)
Interesting Facts
  • The structure added 17 major art works commissioned in accordance with San Francisco’s Percent for Art Ordinance, which provides for an art enrichment allocation equivalent to 2% of the construction cost of a new or renovated civic structure.