The Big Build completes

Wednesday 05 Oct 2011

Sacramento International Airport opens tomorrow with $6m of public artwork

Tomorrow the $1bn redevelopment of Sacramento International Airport will open for business with the first outbound flights scheduled for 6am. Designed by Corgan Associates, Inc. in association with Fentress Architects, the 700,000 sq ft project has created a new terminal three times larger than the original Terminal B airport and is adorned with $6m of public artwork including a gigantic red hare leaping from one floor to the next into a suitcase.

Nicknamed ‘The Big Build’ the project has hit a few bumps on its journey to completion, namely the reduced need for its increased capacity. The new airport complex has the capacity to serve 16 million passengers each year, however with the global economic crisis that began at the beginning of this project’s construction phase, the number of passengers due to pass through the terminal is not estimated to hit this mark until 2029.

Replacing the existing complex is a new Central B Terminal, a 19-gate airside concourse, international arrivals facilities, passenger security checkpoints, a baggage screening system, and 42,000 sq ft of retail outlets and food and beverage vendors. Former Sacramento County Executive Steven Szalay explains: “This project is beneficial for our regional economy now and into the future. The Big Build created approximately 2,400 new jobs and generated nearly $948m in wages for the Sacramento region. The project is a boon to the local economy while positioning Sacramento International Airport for future smart growth and job attraction.”

Taking direct inspiration from the shady tree-lined streets of Sacramento, the design team has incorporated vast amounts of low-E glass to utilise the abundant sunlight in the region, with clerestories and expansive glass curtainwalls permitting natural light to filter through into the main terminal concourse. These rays fall in a dappled pattern due to the crossing structural members that form a grid across the facades, echoing the shadows created by the flora on Sacramento’s streets.

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