Sacramento International Airport Terminal A


County of Sacramento


Sacramento, California




275,000 sq ft


$55 million

Broad, open ticketing and baggage lobbies are bathed in natural light to improve energy-efficiency.

Numerous art pieces are carefully integrated into the building design. The whimsical “Lost Luggage” installation is a wry comment on days-gone-by travel.

To great public approval, Sacramento International Airport (SMF) opened the gleaming new Terminal A complex in 1998. The terminal’s opening represents over 10 years of planning, design and construction.The 275,000-square-foot building provides 12 gates (with provision for 10 future gates) that doubled the passenger capacity for this major airport facility. Completion of this project was a major step for the airport in moving from regional to international status. As such, it involved many infrastructure aspects, from roadways to parking, and security to baggage handling.

As the original architects for the SMF Airport Master Plan, our goal was to provide a terminal that would meet the changing needs of air travelers well into the 21st Century and also work cohesively with the existing and future terminals and support facilities. We retained the exterior building palette of warm ochre-tone precast concrete and lightly tinted glass. The interior spaces open up dramatically to provide a sense of volume and spaciousness at the entry-levels. The upper concourses are broad, with continuous skylights and fully transparent perimeter walls. The resulting vistas of the tarmac and agricultural land beyond are both restful and dramatic.

Terminal A prominently features “River’s Edge” by internationally-known artist Gregory Kondos, glass panels illustrating scenes along the Sacramento River. The terminal was also featured in the 2017 film, Lady Bird.


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