Color us impressed by the swirly new control tower slated for erection at San Francisco International Airport. Isn't it the most, to say the least? Over the next two years, SFO will get this swank new that will cost an estimated $102 million. The face lift ceremony kicks off on Thursday. And this is a good thing. A very good thing.

But what will it look like, you ask? The Chronicle's John King writes:

The end result will be a 221-foot aluminum-clad tower that's narrow at the base but slides out to the east as it rises, as though craning its neck for a view. At the summit an all-glass crown will pull back and pop up, the see-through finale to the show.

It has the makings of a stylized torch amid SFO's low horseshoe of domestic terminals, at least if reality matches the architectural renderings. But the designers and airport officials call the design a pragmatic response to the challenge at hand - squeezing into a narrow site between two terminals while crafting a perch where air traffic controllers can survey every nook and cranny below.

Can you dig? And as King astutely points out, "flair follows function." We hope to see more of this in the coming years. Like in, say, Mission Bay/South Beach. What happened there? What could have been an experiment in audacity and edginess turned into Aliso Viejo North. Alas.

More pics of the control tower.