Fentress Architects’ 2019 Airports of the Future design competition winners just announced

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Can the airport of 2075 be already designed? That is the question participants to the 2019 Airports of the Future design competition organized by Fentress Architects tried to answer. The winners have just been announced. 

Fentress Architects is an American design firm founded in 1980. Last summer, they launched its seventh edition of the international student competition for innovative design in public architecture. This year’s theme was to imagine the Airport of the Future in the year 2075. 

The firm received 500 registrations attracting students from 5 different countries. The participants looked for all aspects of improvement possible in the airport and its processes, adopting a 50-year long-term vision.

As described in the article published on airport-technology.com, the different proposals all took into consideration the challenges airports are already facing – climate – airport/city relationship – the inevitable growth in the number of passengers. And these ever-changing constraints to draw the airport of the future. But we can identify the biggest trends.

Daoru Wang, a student from North Carolina State University, presented the “Infinity Airport”. Wang used the torus knot to design an airport that will improve the aircraft traffic flow which could lead to an endless and seamless stream of flows in the airport.

New Jersey Institute of Technology, US Samantha Pires’design of “Newark Airport Biophilic Headhouse and Community Nexus” came second and drew on the trend transforming the airport into a place that “brings economic development to the community that it serves”. 

The third place is occupied by Christopher Johnson, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK and his vision for Heathrow in 2075. The aim seems to erase borders and ease the capacity for travelers to roam freely in between countries, reinstating the UK in their rightful place in the global market. 

One of the prizes was the People’s Choice award. The article presents the projects number 1 and 2. The winner are Chai Yi Yang and Ng Yi Ming from the University of Malaya. The design encourages the vision of an airport that ease the connection between rail and flight, turning the airport into a vessel welcoming different types of transports, reconnecting the airport to other infrastructure so it can embrace its place inside the public environment. 
The runner-up is the ‘Six Lane City’ by Riki Rozenberg, Evelyn Kreslavsky, Mai Whiteson, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. They worked on the Chicago O’Hare International Airport creating a city that lies above the current infrastructure, turning it into a place that integrates “residential solutions, economic opportunities and cultural experiences”. 

These design place the airport at the center of the environment, as a complete part of it, transforming this – often – distant infrastructure into a key component of people’s daily life. This more than ever confirm that the future lies in making sure that the airport and its surrounding population learn to grow together to make the best out of this collaboration.

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