Announcing the 2018/2019 Fentress Global Challenge Jury

Fentress Architects is excited to announce the jury for the 2018/2019 Fentress Global Challenge (FGC), which recognizes the most innovative and creative student designs for an Airport of the Future. The panel of eight esteemed jurors are experts from the world of architecture, aviation, space, and education. The jury will evaluate the top designs and select the three final winners. This year’s jury includes:

Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, Founder and Principal in Charge of Design of Fentress Architects

Thomas Pellegrin, Head of Consulting – Asia & Middle East, IATA

Christine Negroni, Air safety specialist, journalist, and author of The Crash Detectives

Charles Waldeheim, Professor at the Harvard University School of Design and Director, Office for Urbanization

Ken Gidlow, Technical Advisor, FAA at the NASA Johnson Space Center

Dr. David Alexander, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the Rice Space Institute

Bryant L. Francis, C.M., Director of Aviation at the Port of Oakland

Khaled Naja, Executive Vice President of Airport Development and Planning, Dallas Forth Worth International Airport

Upon the release of the shortlist on July 1, 2019, jury members will assess each shortlisted design based on creative approach, response to site, sustainability, and functionality. On July 17th, the jury will meet to determine the First-Place winner, who will receive US$10,000 in prize money along with the opportunity to accompany Curtis Fentress to a prestigious architectural event where the winner(s) will receive their award. Three additional winners will receive smaller cash prizes.

Sponsored and administered by Fentress Architects since 2011, the FGC’s goal is to engage students worldwide in the exploration of future design possibilities in public architecture. The theme, consistent with Fentress’ expertise in airport design and aviation, is envisioning an Airport of the Future. Participants are encouraged to re-imagine an airport terminal building in the year 2075, focusing on local context, technological trends, project innovation and passenger experience. These ideas can be displayed in photographs, diagrams, renderings, animations, collages, or other visualizations.

The competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students currently pursuing architecture or engineering degrees and recent graduates (within the last four years) that have a degree in those subjects as well. Participants can register for the competition and submit their visionary Airport of the Future designs until May 31, 2019 at 11:00PM GMT. 

About the Jury

Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA

Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, is the Founder and Principal in Charge of Design of Fentress Architects. Known worldwide for his iconic airport designs, Fentress’ airports are recognized for design excellence and an outstanding passenger experience. In 2011 he founded the Fentress Global Challenge to promote the advancement of innovative design in public architecture. He has designed $42 billion of architectural projects worldwide, visited by over 650 million people annually.

Christine Negroni

Christine Negroni is the author of the Penguin bestseller,  The Crash Detectives. She is an air safety specialist and journalist who is considered a thought-leader in the aviation industry. Her work appears in The New York Times, Air & Space, ABC News and Vox among others. Her previous book, Deadly Departure was New York Times Notable Book of the Year.  She writes the blog Flying Lessons at

Thomas Pellegrin

Thomas Pellegrin brings 20 years of management consulting experience in operational strategy across the aerospace and aviation value chains. He has advised airlines, airports, civil aviation authorities, and MROs on a range of strategic and operational topics. Pellegrin currently leads the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) team in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

Bryant L. Francis, C.M.

Bryant L. Francis is the Director of Aviation at the Port of Oakland, where he leads a staff of more than 250 people responsible for the operation of Oakland International Airport. Francis is a 23-year veteran in aviation management. Before joining the Port of Oakland in early 2016, he served as the Airport Director in Long Beach, CA and Director of Airports in Shreveport, LA.

Dr. Charles Waldeheim

Dr. Charles Waldheim is an architect and urbanist whose research examines the relationships between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. He has written and edited numerous books on these subjects, which have been published internationally. Waldheim is the John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he directs the school’s Office for Urbanization.

Ken Gidlow

Ken Gidlow is an Aerospace Engineer/Technical Advisor for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Houston Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). He coordinates FAA Licensing with the NASA Commercial Resupply Services contracts for SpaceX, Northrup Grumman and Sierra Nevada Corp delivering cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

Dr. David Alexander

Dr. David Alexander is the Director and Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rice Space Institute, where his primary areas of research are solar physics exoplanetary physics and earth remote sensing. Prior to joining Rice in 2003, he was a Staff Physicist at Lockheed Martin working on the development of advanced space missions for solar physics. 

Khaled Naja

Mr. Naja serves as Executive Vice President for the Infrastructure and Development Division of Dallas Forth Worth International Airport. In this position, Mr. Naja oversees the planning, design, code, construction, commercial development, energy, transportation and asset management. His professional career includes serving as Vice President in the Aviation Division for Parsons Corporation and as Chief Operating Officer of the Chicago Department of Aviation.