|Intern Name: Miguel Nieto
Internship: Student Design Trainee
Host Office: Architecture-PDC
Aviation Essay Contest
The San Francisco airport has fascinated me since my first trip out to California from my humble Midwestern roots in Madison, Wisconsin. As an architect, I always appreciated the careful design and pleasing aesthetic experiences which characterize this airport around every corner. The buildings themselves seem to express a vision about the future not only of airports, but architecture more broadly. Through my time at the airport so far, my appreciation for its architecture has only expanded, especially after learning more about the tectonic properties of its many buildings, from the Central garage to the International terminal. All of the disparate pieces of the airport seem to coalesce in a way which not only makes sense from a design perspective, but also in terms of the passenger experience. The ability to recognize and track the common threads of the airports design through its different spaces dramatically improves the perception of the airport overall. As important as design is, for designs sake, what brought me to SFO this summer was more directly a result of the ambitious Net Zero goal which the airport has set for itself. A truly monumental challenge, this almost impossible goal awakened within me a deep desire to help the amazing people of this airport who are working tirelessly to reduce its campus wide carbon footprint.
Luckily enough, through my work at the architecture department of the PDC, I have been able to do just that. I have jumped right into the field of energy simulation and have been producing qualitative and quantitative analyses for current and future building projects which will help reduce their reliance on carbon sourced energy. Through a careful application of energy simulation processes early on in the design stage, architects and engineers can analyze their buildings performance and use the analysis to optimize their design, dramatically reducing the energy needs of a building before it even breaks ground. I have no doubt that this process, once refined, will only help the airport towards its goal of producing comfortable, efficient and elegant buildings in the future.