The airport should be an iconic gateway to a city or a region, serving as both a welcome and farewell to travelers. At its best, it culturally and geographically expresses its local context and provides travelers with a sense of place. That philosophy is the driving force behind all my airport designs in which I’ve played a part, and emphatically so in the case of San Jose’s Terminal B.
San Jose and Silicon Valley as a whole are at the core of the 21st century’s economy. The concept of a coaxial cable, a technology central to the region’s development, was suggested to us by the city of San Jose when we took on the Terminal B project. The idea was a natural fit because the site on which the building was to be located was extremely long and narrow. It was by literally deconstructing a coaxial cable in our studio that we arrived at Terminal B’s aesthetic direction.
Peel back the outer shell of the cable and you’ll find layers, including a complex woven copper sheath that protects the core and is quite visually interesting. Thus, the building’s perforated aluminum skin likewise peels away into curvilinear forms that meet at critical focal points. The visitor standing outside can see various materials used in the interior. The reverse is true for the visitor standing inside, who has an immediate visual connection to the outside world. Since many people experience the exterior of Terminal B only from a passing car or bus, the building was designed to be visually dynamic by changing its form as people pass it.