Fentress design competition envisages airports of the next century

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Fentress Architects has announced that 22 entries have been shortlisted for its 2020 Global Challenge (FGC), an annual international student design competition that encourages innovative design in public architecture. This year’s competition challenged students to envision airport mobility in the year 2100.

“Each year I am ever more impressed by the vision, creativity, and practicality set forth by these young architects,” said Curtis Fentress who is also principal in charge of design at Fentress. “This year’s shortlist couldn’t be more diverse; they range from a modular floating terminal to a self-growing airport integrated into the site’s ecosystem. Each concept pioneers creativity, advances innovation and recognizes real solutions that would enhance the passenger experience of 2100.”

Of the over 100 entries judged by a panel of architects and designers at the company, most explored one of the following areas: futuristic mobility, mitigation of Covid-19 and zero-emission.

Several submissions built upon recent developments in futuristic transportation—from the Hyperloop to autonomous vehicles—to imagine the airport of the future as a multimodal hub equipped to handle next-generation aircraft, space travel, autonomous transportation, integration of the Hyperloop, and even autonomous pods. Concepts ranged from terminals with launchpads for spaceflight and underground Hyperloop connections to the replacement of aircraft with self-flying autonomous pods.

The current pandemic inspired a wide range of ideas on how airport design might help mitigate the spread of infectious diseases. Fully touchless airports as well as terminals that have dual functions as “healing hubs” were among the concepts that sought to create health-centric, comfortable, and efficient travel experiences.

A number of submissions utilized cutting-edge solutions as a means to develop zero-emission airport facilities. Among the forward-thinking ideas submitted were airports that integrate with the surrounding ecosystem, terminals reimagined as greenhouses and decentralized air purifying systems.

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