Fentress Global Challenge 2021: Airport of the Future

Airport of the Future, Student Design Competition

Fentress Architects is excited to announce the winners of Fentress Global Challenge (FGC) 2021: Airport of the Future, which garnered over 80 entries from students around the globe. This year’s competition challenged students to envision airport mobility in the year 2100.  The winning entries reflect the radical innovation, quality and curiosity required to advance airport terminal design.

1ST PLACE with a US$15,000 cash prize & PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 1 with a US$1,000 cash prize: Carmina Ferreras and Oluwarotimi Osiberu
1ST PLACE with a US$15,000 cash prize & PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 1 with a US$1,000 cash prize: Carmina Ferreras and Oluwarotimi Osiberu

Ferreras and Osiberu are third-year Master of Architecture students at North Carolina State University.  Ferreras is a former high school math teather interested in connecting communities through advancements in technology and sustainability.  Oluwarotimi came to United States in 2009 from Nigeria, Africa and is interested in spaces that foster healthy communitys. Their entry imagines a new airport in Yokohama, Japan to help alleviate congestion at Tokyo International Airport.  The new hub is designed to serve hypersonic, subsonic, and VTOL flights that will access the furthest corners of the earth.  As a multimodal modal facility, it also incorporates rail systems and boats to fully link land, sea, and air.  Concourses feature vast, traditional gardens and views to marine wildlife.  Walkthough security and facial recognition scan passengers to create a seamless airport experience.  An internal tram system helps move passengers and also offers views of gardens and nearby Mt. Fuji. 

Fentress Global Challenge 2021
2ND PLACE with a US$3,000 cash prize: Liyang Wang

Wang, a student at the Yale School of Architecture, imagined an airport located on the northern corner of Atafu, Tokelau.  It utilizes a series of sun powered runways that move to accommodate airplane operations.  The airport also helps grow and then transplant coral from a nursery to reefs below.  Travelers can take part in observing the process, which will help cultivate climate awareness. 

3RD PLACE with a US$2,000 cash prize: Tan Gee Yang
3RD PLACE with a US$2,000 cash prize: Tan Gee Yang

Yang, a student at Singapore University of Technology and Design, chose Singapore Changi Airport as the site. This entry envisions a reconfigureable and dynamic airport that uses data and machine learning to reconfigure itself in response to demand. Passengers, such as business travelers or vacationing families, would be routed in unique directions to fit their specific needs.  Reconfigurable pods would accommodate new retail experiences, attractions, and rest areas.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 2 with a US$1,000 cash prize: Assem Attia
PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 2 with a US$1,000 cash prize: Assem Attia

Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria garnered the most votes on Facebook with an entry that is shaped as Voronoi cells using parametric design.  Trees are integrated into the buildings and planes land and take off vertically from a platform.

At a time when infrastructure is of utmost importantance to so many communities, FGC affirms that the next generation of designers are capable of envisioning both sustainable and user-friendly solutions.  Entrants were asked to improve upon at least one primary factor influencing airport terminal building design in 2100 such as mobility, urbanization, globalization, technology, flexibility, security, project feasibility, and passenger experience.  As for location, entrants were able to choose between siting the new terminal at an existing airfield—such as at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) or Beijing Capital International (PEK)—or on a yet undeveloped site—such as in Atafu, Tokelau or Canillo, Andorra. 

“Passion for design and a creative mindset are the cornerstone of any successful design competition” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects. “Each year, the submissions we receive are more innovative, sustainable, and dynamic than the prior year, which reveals an exciting outlook for the future of terminal design.”

The entries were evaluated on five criteria—creative approach and presentation; response to site; sustainability and resiliency; functionality; and innovation and technology—by a a jury of renowned professionals in the field of aviation, which included:

  • Blake Scholl, Founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic
  • Dan Bartholomew, Airport Director at Aspen/Pitkin County Airport
  • Dan Symonds, Editor of Passenger Terminal World 
  • David Laielli, Senior Technical Architect for Airport Terminal Buildings at AECOM
  • Melvin Price, Associate Principal with Jacobs

About Fentress Global Challenge

Launched by Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, the Fentress Global Challenge (FGC) is an annual international student design competition.  Since its inception in 2011, thousands of entries from over 75 countries have competed for top honors.  FGC represents an extraordinary exploration into the future of architecture, and in so doing, continues to advance the pursuit of innovative design in public architecture.  For more information or to sign up for 2022, go to: www.fentressglobalchallenge.com

About Fentress Architects

Fentress Architects is a global design firm, which passionately pursues the creation of sustainable and iconic architecture that improves the human environment. As a dynamic organization, Fentress is driven to design, innovate, and exceed client expectations.  Since its founding in 1980 by Curtis Fentress, the firm’s portfolio of completed work is valued at over $43 billion, has grown to serve more than 650 million people each year, and has been honored with more than 550 distinctions for design excellence and innovation. To learn more about Fentress Architects, please visit https://fentressarchitects.com/.  Connect with Fentress on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.