Fentress Architects Unveils Winning Student for Airport of the Future

2011 Grand Prize Winner

Winning design features hypersonic jets, vertical takeoff, and public transportation elements

February 21, 2012— After reviewing 200 innovative student submissions from around the world, Fentress Architects is excited to announce the winning designs for the 2011 Fentress Global Challenge, an international competition launched last fall for architecture and engineering students to present their visions for the Airport of the Future. Expert jury members narrowed the submittals to 16 finalists, and then to the top three with two honorable mentions. Designs were evaluated on Creative Approach, Response to Site, Sustainability and Functionality.


Concept: LDN Delta Airport

Student: Oliver Andrew

University: London South Bank University, London


Concept: The Airport of the Future

Student: Martin Sztyk

University: University College London, London


Concept: Pocket Airports

Student: Alexander Nevarez

University: Art Center College of Design, United States

Honorable Mention

Concept: Aero-Loop         

Student: Thor Yi Chun

Honorable Mention

Concept: New Arcticity

Student: Daniel Kang

University: University of Science of Malaysia

University: National Taiwan University of Science & Tech


  • G. Hardy Acree, Airport Director, Sacramento International Airport                                             
  • Marvin Malecha, FAIA, Dean of the College of Design, North Carolina State University                                  
  • Helen Norman, Editor, Passenger Terminal World                                                                                
  • Tibbie Dunbar, Executive Director, Architecture + Design Museum                                                               
  • James P. Cramer, Hon AIA, Hon IIDA, Cofounder & Chairman, Design Futures Council                                
  • Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA,  Principal-in-Charge of Design, Fentress Architects

1st PLACE: LDN Delta Airport

DESCRIPTION: The LDN Delta Airport is designed as prefabricated, mass-produced islands situated in the Thames Estuary, upstream from London. The airport would ease the overcrowding of the surrounding airports as there are no cars, runways, nor check-in desks, but is served solely via public transportation. Flight information is connected through passengers’ cell phones, providing the departure time and assigned gate. The airport supports vertical takeoff with hypersonic jets capable of flying at the edge of space, lifting off from purpose-built landing pads and uses the tidal currents to run on total sustainable power.


“This airport proposed two vital elements: unmanned aerial vehicle elements, since future aircraft will rely heavily on technology to control airline cost, and vertical takeoff and landing capability, which reduce the airport landmass footprint.” — Acree

“LDN Delta Airport takes into consideration new technologies with the use of GPS and smart phone technology. It connects to land through public transport, good for inter-modality and the environment, as less people are using their cars.” — Norman

“The connection to a meditation landscape to ease the tensions of travelers is exactly what is needed. Also, flotation devices solve a combination of environmental and urban design concerns.” — Malecha

“The LDN Delta Airport demonstrates innovative and ecological solutions all combined with human scale and user delight in an urban setting.” — Cramer

This student’s approach captured the challenging elements necessary for a successful airport in the future, including multimodal transportation, conscientious design, and social considerations.” — Fentress

A Word with Fentress Global Challenge Grand-Prize Winner Oliver Andrew

“Taking part in this competition has been fantastic from the moment I read the brief to the moment I put pencil to paper. I spent many long nights sketching and thinking the concept through, in order to create something innovative and revolutionary in airport design.  My concept goes beyond today’s airport design to propose a pioneering ecological solution for the future,” said Andrew. A competition at this level is a real honor. I look forward to working with everyone at Fentress Architects.”

2nd PLACE: The Airport of the Future  

“I was thrilled to have received 2nd place, let alone being shortlisted for this competition.”—Second Place Winner Martin Sztyk     

DESCRIPTION: In the Airport of the Future, algae farms produce biofuel for aircrafts and the airport facility, which can be processed by neighboring oil refineries.                                   


“The airport of the future shows how a self-sustaining concept can become ubiquitous with broad implications for seaside developments.” — Cramer

“This is a strong scheme with vital emotional and intellectual connections to the land. The drawings present an elegant structure that has the ability to grow and change; open spaces complement architecture that seems to sit easily on its landscape.”— Malecha

3rd PLACE: Pocket Airports

“To be considered among the future up and coming designers and architects, gives me a great sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.”Third Place Winner Alexander Nevarez

DESCRIPTION: Pocket airports created a new aircraft, integrating quiet electric propulsion, supersonic speeds, and vertical takeoff/landing capability.


“The airport uses existing infrastructure within a city for the airport–a good approach where cities have a lot of derelict buildings, as it encourages regeneration.” — Norman

“This is a strong vision of what aviation could look like 150 years from now. By utilizing existing structures, this student improves passenger experience, allows faster travel time, and frees up valuable land to be used for other purposes.” — Fentress

Andrew will be awarded the top prize valued at $10,000, including $3,000 cash and a paid internship at Fentress Architects this summer. The runner-up and third place winner will receive cash awards of $1,000 and $500 respectively. The top 16 finalist designs will also gain international exposure in the traveling exhibition Now Boarding: Fentress Airports + The Architecture of Flight, which provides a multi-media journey through the past, present and future of airport design. The exhibit debuts on July 15, 2012 at the Denver Art Museum.

Visit our Past Winners page here for for images and information.