Mineta San José International Airport, Terminal B
Opened June 2010: Silicon Valley has cemented its reputation as the epicenter of emerging technology, but for many years its decidedly low-tech airport seemed stuck in the age of analog. Now, in the wake of a $1.3 billion modernization program (launched by design firm Gensler and completed by Fentress Architects), the airport has become as technologically minded as the region it serves.
The exterior of Terminal B was designed to mimic an unwound cable and utilizes plenty of glass to showcase San Jose’s 330 annual days of sunshine. Within the terminal, departing passengers can plug into the nation’s first “air chairs,” seating that provides electrical outlets and conditioned air from the base, and use complimentary WiFi. Mineta also features one of the world’s largest digital art programs. One of the coolest pieces is called Space Observer—a glossy, white, 26-foot sculpture perched on a tripod of eight-foot legs that explores the interactivity between humans and modern technology. flysanjose.com.