SFO Air Traffic Control Tower

San Francisco, California

Land constraints, strict FAA requirements shape innovative design

● New tower fits into narrow gap between terminals 1 and 2
● Distinctive torch-shaped form is compatible with surrounding architecture
● Offset cab enhances sightlines, offers larger, more contiguous space

When San Francisco International Airport needed to replace its 1984-commissioned traffic control tower building, it tapped HNTB as master architect to perform conceptual work and take the design to 45-percent completion.

HNTB met the challenge of squeezing the control tower integrated facilities base building into a narrow gap between terminals 1 and 2. The resulting 221-foot-tall-torch-shaped tower enhances sightlines by offsetting the cab while fulfilling SFO’s desire for a distinctive form. With the offset cab design, the Federal Aviation Administration has a larger, more contiguous space in which to work – without having to compromise any of its strict design requirements.

The new air traffic control tower meets or exceeds the strictest seismic standards, is LEED®-Gold certified, contains the latest technology and is a symbol of the airport for generations to come.