Terminal Area Improvement Program at SJC

San Jose, California, USA

Silicon Valley’s reputation as the birthplace of world renowned technology permeates Fentress’ high-tech design for SJC's new terminal.

Phase 1 of San Jose’s $1.3-billion Terminal Area Improvement Program (TAIP), consisted of four parts.  First was a new Terminal B to replace Terminal C.  Second were system modernizations, functional improvements and aesthetic upgrades to Terminal A. Third was a new consolidated rental car facility conveniently located adjacent to Terminal B.  The last component were airport roadway and parking improvements.

Airport World called Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) the “most technologically advanced airport.” This is apropos given SJC’s role as ambassador to the Silicon Valley region.  In addition to its plentiful deployments of technology, the terminal also features an extensive public art program. In fact, Fentress Architects worked with airport operators and the Art + Technology program to align the art and architectural master plans.  The result is extraordinarily successful.  Travelers and staff alike feel a connection to the art, building, experience, region, and one another.

Awards + Accolades

SJC’s continuous garnering of top awards is a testament to the success of its human-centered, connection-driven design.  In fact, American City Business Journals ranked it among the best-run airports in the country.  That was 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.  Furthermore, these 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!”


Terminal B was the largest airport project upon its completion in 2010 to be constructed in the United States using the design-build method.  Indeed, 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.  He said “ … 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

The design and construction of the Terminal Area Improvement Program at SJC incorporates numerous sustainable strategies and practices. In fact, Terminal B was the first entirely new passenger terminal west of the Mississippi River to become LEED Silver Certified.