Competition Brief

    Airport of the Future

    Re-envisioning airport mobility in the year 2100


    Despite a multitude of technological advances including video conferencing and drones, the proliferation of airports worldwide continues to be spurred on by global commerce and an unrelenting demand for travel.

    While the airport terminal—conceived a century ago—is a relatively new architectural typology, it has since its inception held equal importance with quintessential civic buildings: city halls, courthouses, libraries, museums, and theaters.  Yet, airports are uniquely complex and they are more than just high volume transportation hubs.  Increasingly, airports are also workplaces, centers of commerce, recreational outlets, and cultural resources. 

    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.  


    FGC is open to graduate and undergraduate students currently pursuing architecture or engineering degrees in an accredited university program, as well as recent graduates (within the last four years) with a degree in architecture or engineering. Current students must provide proof of active enrollment status: a scanned copy of their student ID and current course schedule. Recent graduates must provide a scanned copy of their diploma.


    FGC participants are challenged to envision a terminal building for the year 2100. Concepts must:

    I.      Create a new airport terminal concept.  Entrants are encouraged to utilize forecasts for population, environmental conditions, modes of travel, and potential destinations in the creation of their concept.     

    II.     Employ Fentress’ Touchstone 2: Use Context to Create Identity. “Context is more than an intellectual consideration of the history or physical appearance of a neighborhood, city, or state, and it’s more than the way new will live with old. Context draws on the senses, the sights, smells and memories that define a place and make it unique. Context grows from community, and people respond to it.” For more on Fentress’ Eight Touchstones of Design: 

    III.    Improve upon at least one primary factor influencing airport terminal building design in 2100.  Entrants are encouraged to make projections about the factors that will most influence airport architecture in the future.  Examples of factors include mobility, urbanization, globalization, technology, flexibility, security, project feasibility, and passenger experience. 

    IV.   Achieve sustainability and resiliency.  Sustainable design is the creation of places that are environmentally responsible, healthy, equitable, and profitable. Resilient designs are capable of adapting to changing conditions and maintain or regain functionality in the face of natural and manmade disasters. 

    V.     Site the new terminal at one of the 20 busiest airports (by passenger volume) in the world:

    •       Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ATL

    •       Beijing Capital International Airport PEK

    •       Dubai International Airport DXB

    •       Los Angeles International Airport LAX

    •       Tokyo International (Haneda) Airport HND

    •       O’Hare International Airport ORD

    •       Heathrow Airport LHR

    •       Hong Kong International Airport HKG

    •       Pudong International Airport PVG

    •       Aéroport de Paris-Charles de Gaulle CDG

    •       Amsterdam Airport Schiphol AMS

    •       Indira Gandhi International Airport DEL

    •       Guangzhou Bai Yun International Airport CAN

    •       Flughafen Frankfurt/Main FRA 

    •       Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport DFW

    •       Incheon International Airport ICN

    •       Atatürk International Airport IST

    •       Soekarno-Hatta International Airport CGK

    •       Singapore Changi Airport SIN 

    •       Denver International Airport DEN                                                                                                                                             


    Use clear, concise language to convey ideas, key points, and design solutions. Photographs, diagrams, renderings, animations, collages or other visualizations are encouraged to help explain the concept, respecting the guidelines previously described. Please label drawings.


    The design approach is innovative and inspiring. Both the concept and design solution are presented through unique and compelling graphics and other media.


    The design honors the physical attributes of the site’s context and culture. The overall design strategy matches the global and local demographic requirements of the location. Again, use context to create identity.


    The design minimizes negative impacts to the wellbeing of humans and the natural environment. The overall design strategy also responds to vulnerabilities including natural and manmade disasters.


    The planning and building organization is clear and appropriate. The design solution contains a defined and well- articulated structural, technical, and constructible rationale. 











    Competition Announcement:                   Febuary 15, 2021

    Design Submission Deadline:                  October 1, 2021

    Shortlist Announcement:                         November 1, 2021

    Winners Announcement:                         December 1, 2021


    Participants must register and upload competition materials to their profile page at no later than July 31, 2020 (23:00 GMT).  Guidelines for the submission:

    Mandatory Formatting:

    •       Official language is English

    •       Official system of measurements is United States customary units 

    •       File must be saved as a PDF and named as follows: “2020_(team name)_(design concept name).pdf”

    •       File must contain no more than eight (8) single-sided, 11-inch x 17-inch, landscape-oriented pages

    •       Each of the up to eight (8) pages must be labelled with page number and team name

    •       File size must not exceed 100MB

    Mandatory Content:

    •       Title of design concept

    •       Description of design concept (400-word maximum)

    •       Description of entrant (team or individual)

    •       Supporting images to include diagrams, plans, sections, and/or perspectives

    •       In a separate PDF, include photocopies of all student IDs (or other proof of school registration)

    Optional Content: 

    •       Video about the design (2 minutes max)

    Plagiarism and cheating will result in disqualification. 


    FGC will be judged in two stages.  A first-round jury of distinguished experts will shortlist fifteen (15) designs from which a second-round jury will select the three finalists.  Members of the jury—to be announced at a later date—will include airport directors, futurists, sustainability and resiliency experts, airport architects, and Fentress Fellows. 

    All shortlisted entries will also be eligible for the People’s Choice Award, which will be judged on Fentress Architects’ Facebook page. The two submissions receiving the most “likes” will win a prize of US$1,000 each.

    Download full rules and regulations here.

    2019 1st Place – Infinity Airport 
    Winner: Daoru Wang

    • Dušan Sekulic