New Centerpiece Control Tower Set to Rise at San Francisco International Airport

SFO Tower by Fentress Architects

San Francisco, California (February 5, 2013) – A world-class tower for a world-class airport is set to rise at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Known as the “gateway to the Pacific,” SFO serves approximately 50 million domestic and international passengers annually.

Committed to maintaining a competitive and iconic facility, the Replacement Airport Traffic Control Tower and Integrated Facilities have combined to create  a  new  Federal  Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Traffic Control Tower. The tower includes an Integrated Facility base building for offices, support, and other airport functions. Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and Fentress Architects serve as the design-build team for this iconic tower that represents the San Francisco spirit by incorporating the cosmopolitan character and sophistication of the City by the Bay.

Landmark Control Tower

The new 220-foot-tall control tower replaces the current air traffic control tower that no longer meets seismic standards. The tower is located between Terminals 1 and 2 and features a 650-square-foot controller work area. The tower sits atop a three-story, 44,000-square-foot base building that will house administrative offices, a backup generator, computer equipment, and secured corridors through which passengers can transit between terminals. Given the prominent location and high visibility, the tower will be the first image arriving passengers see, whether by land or air.


The new tower is built to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake. The design incorporates a post-tension system that will not sway with wind loads, ensuring the safety and technical operations of the controllers atop the tower.

Administration Offices 

A new and different type of workspace for FAA air traffic managers, supervisors, and technical operations is being incorporated into the design of the new administration offices. The design features open workspaces and light-filled offices, creating a new way of working in response to the emergence of a multi-generational workforce.


Solar panels, eco-friendly mechanical and technical systems, and sustainable materials are in place to reach LEED Gold certification goals.

Job Growth 

It is estimated that more than 400 construction jobs and more than 200 support positions will be created during the construction of the tower and associated facilities.

Construction Completion: August 2014
Move-in completion: August 2015
Size: 58,307 square feet
Total Project Cost: $102,000,000
Expected Annual Visitors: 40,907,389
Architect of Record: Fentress Architects in association with HNTB
General Contractor: Hensel Phelps