Terminal Area Improvement Program at SJC

San Jose, California, USA

Birthplace of some of the world’s greatest technologies, Silicon Valley’s reputation permeates Fentress’ high-tech design for SJC.

Phase 1 of San Jose’s $1.3-billion Terminal Area Improvement Program (TAIP), consisted of:

  • a new Terminal B to replace Terminal C;
  • system modernizations, functional improvements and aesthetic upgrades to Terminal A;
  • a new consolidated rental car facility conveniently located adjacent to Terminal B; and
  • airport roadway and parking improvements.

Airport World has called Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) the “most technologically advanced airport,” which is apropos given its role as ambassador to the Silicon Valley region.  Among its plentiful deployments of technology is an extensive public art program. Fentress Architects worked with SJC’s administration and Art + Technology program to align the art master plan with the architectural master plan.  The result has been extraordinarily successful, particularly in helping people feel a connection to the art, building, experience, region, and one another.

Awards + Accolades

The fact SJC continues to garner top awards is a testament to the success of its human-centered, connection-driven design.  American City Business Journals ranked it among the best-run airports in the country based on nine criteria, including revenue per employee, operating income, ease, access, and speed of travel.  In 2017, J.D. Power and Associates gave SJC top billing in their North American Airport Satisfaction Study of medium airports.  These and more awards mirror anecdotal evidence from travelers including talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel who tweeted: “Whomever runs @FlySJC San Jose airport should run the country. Nice people, quick baggage, even clean bathrooms!”


Upon completion in 2010, Terminal B was the largest airport project in the United States delivered using the design-build method. Airport operators chose design-build as a means to reduce the project budget and schedule from $4.5 billion completed within 12 years to $1.3 billion within four years. Halfway through construction, Bill Sherry, then-director of SJC, explained the benefits were even better than expected; “ … the success of the program can be summed up this way: When we started the program, we were $150 million out of budget. We are now [mid-construction] tracking about $140 million under budget.”

USGBC LEED-Silver Certified

Numerous  sustainable  strategies  and  practices  were incorporated into the design and construction of the TAIP. In fact, Terminal B was the first entirely new passenger terminal west of the Mississippi River to become LEED Silver Certified. Terminal A is “self-certified,” and the rental car facility, followed “best practices” for green building, including the installation of a roof-mounted 3.4-acre, 1.1-megawatt solar array.