San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

The basis of design is rooted in the vernacular architecture of this region. It is an architecture driven by regional needs, using local construction materials, and reflecting central California traditions. Attention to local materials and indigenous landscaping allow the terminal to fit in well to its surroundings. It is inspired by the simple roof shapes and details found in the missions, agricultural country, ranchlands, and vineyards. The region grows a wide variety of produce; however, grapes are the largest crop. Viticulture (the science, study, and production of grapes) serve as design metaphors to support this regional based architecture. The concept explores the blending of traditional and contemporary materials for an appropriate palette suited to a twenty-first century transportation gateway.

Views are a consideration in the design concept to take full advantage of the surrounding hills and natural landmarks. It attempts to blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces. A glass curtain wall facing north brings in natural daylight while capturing the magnificent vista. This relationship connects the terminal to its larger environment and community. The views into the terminal, especially at night, are as important as the views looking out. They serve to reinforce and support the idea of natural way finding for the traveler as they make their way through the terminal. Through architectural lighting, the landside lobby at night becomes an inviting beacon to the community.

Project Details

Description Aviation
Location San Luis Obispo, CA
Client San Luis Obispo County
Awards ENR California’s Best Airport/Transit Project in Southern California


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