Fentress reveals winning airport designs

Fentress Architects has named the winners of the Fentress Global Challenge 2021: Airport of the Future.

This year’s competition, which received more than 80 entries from around the world, challenged students to envision airport mobility in the year 2100. 

Carmina Ferreras and Oluwarotimi Osiberu, third year Master of Architecture students at North Carolina State University, were awarded first place, which includes a $15,000 cash prize. Their entry imagined a new airport in Yokohama, Japan to help alleviate congestion at Tokyo International Airport. The new hub was designed to serve hypersonic, subsonic and VTOL flights.

Osiberu and Ferreras
Ferreras and Osiberu designed a new airport in Yokohama to help alleviate congestion at Tokyo International Airport Fentress Architects

As a multimodal modal facility, the winning design also incorporated rail systems and boats to fully link land, sea and air. The concourses featured vast, traditional gardens and views to marine wildlife, in addition to walkthrough security and facial recognition to scan passengers. An internal tram system was also included and offered views of gardens and nearby Mount Fuji. 

Curtis Fentress, principal in charge of design at Fentress Architects, said: “Passion for design and a creative mindset are the cornerstone of any successful design competition. 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.”

Liyang Wang Wang, a student at the Yale School of Architecture, took second place. Wang imagined an airport on the northern corner of Atafu, a coral atoll in the South Pacific’s Tokelau, that utilise sun-powered runways that moved to accommodate aircraft operations. According to Wang’s design, the airport could help to grow and then transplant coral from a nursery to reefs below, and travellers could take part in observing the process to boost climate awareness. 

Liyang Wang Wang's Atafu idea
Liyang Wang Wang imagined an airport located on the northern corner of Atafu, Tokelau Fentress Architects

Tan Gee Yang, a student at Singapore University of Technology and Design, came third. This entry envisioned Singapore Changi Airport as a reconfigurable and dynamic airport that uses data and machine learning to reconfigure itself in response to demand. Passengers would be routed in unique directions to fit their specific needs. Reconfigurable pods would accommodate new retail experiences, attractions and rest areas.

Tan Gee Yang
Tan Gee Yang envisaged Singapore Changi Airport as a dynamic, reconfigurable facility Fentress Architects

The People’s Choice Award, voted for on Facebook, was won by Assem Attia, a student at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria. This popular design showed trees integrated into the airport buildings and planes landing and taking off vertically from a platform.

Attia Assem
Attia Assem won the People's Choice award with an entry  inspired by Voronoi cells Fentress Architects

All competition entries were evaluated on their creative approach and presentation, response to site, sustainability and resiliency, functionality and innovation and technology, according to Fentress Architects.