SFO Director on Airport's $2.5 Billion, 10-Year Renovation


Airports are some of the busiest and heaviest foot-trafficked spaces in the world. Efficiency, convenience, and user safety are incorporated into all aspects of airport design and integral to their success. Director of San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Ivar Satero, is uniquely accustomed to this responsibility through the work he does for SFO, America's seventh-busiest airport

Although Satero was only recently appointed as Director of SFO, his experience as an integral part of the airport's staff is one of impressive growth and evolution. Satero's previous leadership positions in the airport include Deputy Director of Design and Construction, as well as Chief Operating Officer. Satero's trajectory combines leadership and a passion for designing spaces which best serve the airport's travelers, the total number of which exceeded 25 million in 2016. He recently discussed his role in overseeing the airport's expansion and $2.5 Billion, 10-Year renovation on The Modern Architect radio show and podcast. 

Listen to the full interview

"This airport has been part of my life for the 53 years I've been around."

SFO Director on Airport's $2.5 Billion, 10-Year Renovation

Ivar Satero, Director of San Francisco International Airport

In addition to an inherent interest in aircrafts and all things related to flying, Satero's 26 years of experience in the field only affirms the positive impact he has made on the airport. The focal point of his career has been his experience within its ongoing construction. From the AirTrain system to the integration of BART into the facility, Satero has worked to evolve with travelers' ever-changing needs, always focusing on creating an innovative and accessible environment. 

"To me, it's about the culture that we've established at SFO--that's what differentiates us."
SFO Director on Airport's $2.5 Billion, 10-Year Renovation

San Francisco International Airport

One of the most vital aspects of Satero's job is overseeing the various redevelopments that the airport undergoes. As with all airports, construction seems to be a constant. Terminal 1, one of the oldest terminals of the airport, requires intensive remodeling to properly accommodate the contemporary needs of the thousands of passengers that travel through it daily. 

With a whopping budget of $2.5 billion dollars and an expected completion date in 2022, the terminal is anticipated to surpass environmental standards and aims to achieve LEED® Gold status. Some highlights of the renovation include expansive terminal renovations, updated amenities, a 350-room hotel, post-security corridors, and an accessible central concourse with an art gallery. Read more about the project, here

"It's about technology enabling the passenger experience."
SFO Director on Airport's $2.5 Billion, 10-Year Renovation

SFO Terminal 1 Redevelopment

A common user complaint is that airports are difficult to navigate, which is not lost on Satero. Throughout the airport's 10 year renovation, he is actively examining how he and his staff can minimize the level of stress that often accompanies flying. Through technologies that enhance the human experience, flying can become more accessible and enjoyable, Satero says. 

Satero's role as airport director ranges from many diverse tasks and functions, but he continuously emphasizes the importance of intuition in alleviating the tension that traveling can cause; whether through the implementation of smart design and construction for efficient air traffic, or delivering quality amenities within the terminals, Satero's work focuses on serving the user through smart and empathetic design.

Listen to the full interview

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