First Nine Gates of Boarding Area B at SFO’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Open

Culminating in four years of meticulous planning, design and project delivery, the first phase of San Francisco International Airport’s $2.4 billion Harvey Milk Terminal 1 renovation opened on July 23.

Officially named for gay rights activist and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, Terminal 1 Boarding Area B sets a new standard for terminal design with flexible swing gates, an individual carrier system (ICS) for baggage handling and extensive amenities, all within an airy, daylit, healthy building.

To meet forecasted demand, Terminal 1 will eventually operate 25 gates, including four international swing gates, to accommodate 70 percent more passengers. And while the terminal increased in size, the sustainable design will achieve an impressive 50% reduction in energy usage with its highly efficient building systems and 1.2 million watts of solar energy.

HKS, Woods Bagot, ED2 and KYA comprised the design leadership Joint Venture of the Austin/Webcor Joint Venture design-build team that delivered Terminal 1’s Boarding Area B program. HKS served as the project lead for programming, exterior envelope architecture, as well as the sustainability lead, partnered with ARUP.

“SFO’s Boarding Area B is the embodiment of advanced airport design, incorporating the most innovative strategies, materials and systems in the world today,” said Pat Askew, HKS Director of Aviation. “Boarding Area B creates a positive, stress-free passenger experience that represents the best of the Bay Area while providing sophisticated, smart and sustainable facilities for the airlines and SFO alike.”

New technologies, improved functionality and airport operations were key design drivers. This project incorporates SFO’s vision – incorporating next generation building systems, aviation trends and setting innovation standards – for the entire airport. Investing in new systems upgrades ensures SFO will reap the long-term benefits of operating Common-Use gates, advanced building management systems, North America’s first ICS baggage handling system and all-electric shared-use ramp service vehicles.

Nine of the terminal’s 25 planned passenger gates, as well as three retail and six food and beverage concessions, are now open for business. Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue are the first two airlines to occupy Terminal 1 Boarding Area B. In this first phase, passengers will be greeted by five site-specific public art commissions. Two more phases of Boarding Area B are scheduled: in March 2020, 18 gates will be operational, and by the second quarter of 2021, all 25 gates will be open.

The Boarding Area B project is comprised of more than 617,000 square feet on three levels and includes two airline lounges and one common use lounge. Intuitively designed to direct passengers toward gate lounges, architectural detail includes high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, providing light-saturated spaces and expansive exterior views.

Boarding Area B’s extensive passenger amenities include SFO Museum exhibits, SFO’s first gender-neutral restrooms, a children’s play area, an animal relief room and 10 site-specific art commissions. When Terminal 1 is complete, the space will offer 34 concessions comprised of 14 food and beverage vendors and 20 retail outlets.

Focusing on the passenger experience, the design creates a calm and curated journey: a generous central concourse features intuitive wayfinding, advanced acoustics and lighting, comfortable furnishings and plentiful amenities and food halls offering the best of San Francisco and Bay Area fare.

The design Joint Venture delivered SFO’s ambitious sustainability and healthy building outcome goals, anticipating USGBC LEEDv4 Platinum certification. The green design includes radiant heating and cooling, diffused air systems, dynamic glazing, noise reduction features, and 5-filter carbon air filtration systems that provide a comfortable passenger ambience.

In all, SFO’s Terminal 1 design provides a refreshing and stress-free travel experience that warmly welcomes visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area and greets residents returning home.