SFO Control Tower / 2016


This 221-foot-tall control tower at the San Francisco International Airport was designed by HNTB. The distinctive architecture allows for more adjacent workspace while still meeting requirements that the tower be constructed in the narrow space between terminals 1 and 2. The tower’s exterior is clad in curved metal panels and a vertical band of glass that reflects the sky during the day, and is illuminated from within to emit a soft blue glow at night. The new air traffic control tower was built to exceed stringent seismic standards, and is LEED®-Gold certified.

Front collaborated with the architects to complete schematic design and design development for the glazing and aluminum cladding of the tower and the terminal connector lobby. Our work included studies to find ways to achieve a double curved form in a cost effective manner.  The panels are designed with a shape and layout that allowed for flat panels to be cold curved in a single direction while the faceting faces the other direction. Front provided renderings under varying daylight conditions that proved the faceting to be hidden from public view.