October 13, 2021
Since completing its original design in 1967, Sacramento International Airport (SMF) has seen its share of major milestones. Although every step in the development of the airport holds a significant place in the history of SMF, one stands above the other.
This week, SMF is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the $ 1.03 billion terminal modernization project known at the time as “The Big Build”. At the time, it was Sacramento County’s largest public building capital improvement project, the centerpiece of which is now known simply as Terminal B.
Over the past decade, millions of passengers have traveled through Terminal B and made flights to hundreds of destinations. After its completion, Travel + Leisure magazine named Terminal B one of the “coolest new airport terminals”. Originally known as Sacramento Metropolitan Airport, SMF was the first purpose-built public airport west of the Mississippi. In 1998, SMF opened what is now Terminal A, and what was then Sacramento Metropolitan Airport became Sacramento International Airport, anticipating international flights that began in 2002. At the time, Terminal A was considered modern, but Sacramento County and other community leaders knew that additional terminal facilities would be needed in order for SMF to remain the gateway to Northern California. What happened next was an unprecedented level of collaboration, support and determination to develop a vision for the new Terminal B that would become an architectural and travel icon for the region. “Terminal B construction has moved SMF from a regional airport to an important gateway to California,” said Cindy Nichol, airport director of Sacramento County. “The spacious and beautiful terminal provides an inspiring welcome for incoming visitors while residents reflect their hometown in our shops, our art and our friendly staff.” The big build included a new central terminal as well as a 19-gate air hall, international arrival facilities, passenger security controls, an inline baggage control system and more than 42,000 square meters of concessions.
The airport’s expanded terminal facilities have enabled SMF to meet projected growth in travel demand while creating a remarkable gateway to the Central Valley. Architects have captured the region’s rich history and culture while creating a unique sense of place that Sacramento represents. The vaulted three-story building with glass walls offers a panoramic view from three sides, also towards the city center and the mountains. Inside, the ceiling beams create a dynamic rhythm of light and shadow, an effect inspired by the lush, tree-lined streets of Sacramento. Terminal B shines with natural light. The floor-to-ceiling windows not only make the building light and airy, but also maximize daylight to reduce internal energy consumption. Other sustainable features include sun protection devices, low-e glass to minimize heat build-up and the use of recycled materials.
Another standout feature is the selection of works of art by renowned local and international artists.
“Leap,” the giant red rabbit that leaps into a suitcase, has become an iconic symbol of SMF. The intricate wooden panel by artist Christian Moeller from Los Angeles with six faces of the baggage handlers is one of many creative works that range from tile mosaics to walk-in sculptures. Terminal B underscores the county’s desire to further represent the Sacramento area by concentrating local restaurants throughout the concourse. Restaurants like Jack’s Urban Eats and Squeeze Inn make the hall an extension of the region’s culinary experiences.