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Is this what airports will look like in 2075? The vision of the future above is the winning design submitted by North Carolina State University student, Daoru Wang, in Fentress Architects’ annual Airport of the Future competition.

Wang’s vision, called ‘Infinity Airport’, earned him $10,000 and the opportunity to receive the award from Curt Fentress at a prestigious architectural event.

In his submission, Wang wrote: “To improve the efficiency of the airport typology, this project underwent an intensive study of aircraft traffic flow and further developed the concept of a ‘drive-through airport.’


“Just as important as the internal operations, the connection to the existing urban fabric ensures that the design is not only efficient but also celebrated and utilised properly. Taking inspiration from the torus knot, which appears like two overlapping INFINITY symbols, the general shape of the airport combines the complexity of the form and the ideology of INFINITY by creating the circular and endless concourse system.

“At the same time, the double-loaded bar system has the capability to stream the loading/unloading process, which underlines the importance of the circulation of the aircraft within the airport and expands the limits of the typology of existing airport.”

Second placed, Samantha Pires, a student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, called her effort ‘Newark Airport Biophillic Headhouse and Community Nexus’.

Her description reads: “The project uses this rail access and a consolidated terminal to explore ideas defined by economic analyst John Kasarda, [author of] the Aerotropolis. The aerotropolis is a conceptual type of urban form, with the airport as the centre of the metropolis.

“This project applies the concept of the aerotropolis and proposes that the Airport of the Future is one that brings economic development to the community that it serves.

“It proposes that the Airport of the Future should not be governed by fear and ‘security theatre’ that runs modern airports, but that it should be a place for community engagement, job opportunities and a catalyst for neighbourhood development and benefit.”


Taking third spot was the design above by Christopher Johnson from the University of Create Arts in Farnham in the UK.

Describing his vision he called LondonHeathrow2075, Johnson said: “A new airport concept typology explores future technological trends and smart cities to connect humanity directly to generate a new urban fabric within the existing airport landmass of Heathrow.

“A drive-through concept that sits below the airport terminal allows aircraft traffic and waiting times to be reduced. Technological innovations suggest a reduction in physical passports, security and immigration as it moves to an online environment.

“An international zone that lives within a country that provides free roam to visitors and guests creates a global destination that re-invests in the notion of the UK’s stance on the global market.” 


Other winners were Chai Yi Yang and Ng Yi Ming from the Universty of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur who won a People’s Choice Award for their effort Y3M.

Their submisson says: “We envision the possibility of a synthetic amalgamation—the integration of an Elon Musk-like Hyperloop tube system and capsule fuselage technology.

“The great leap in technology advancement would manifest a subversive paradigm transformation towards current airport morphology, from a centralised mass into a vessel-like network.

“While refraining the inefficiency of turnaround, vast runways, long travel distance, huge labour force, convoluted programming and so on, the new model suggests a seamless transition from rail to flight— elementary yet expeditious.

“This gesture is denying the airport as an isolated system in the collective locomotion structure, bringing aviation closer to our regular transit as a unification where we expect a new civic role.

“This notion adopts the ideology of Hong Kong as a capital of movement and efficiency, being a creation of international identity. The other part of this concept advocates ecological concern to reserve a greater land compared to traditional typology.”

The above design from three students (Riki Rozenberg, Evelyn Kreslavsky and Mai Whiteson) at Tel Aviv University in Israel also won a People’s Choice Award.


They comment: “Today, O’Hare International Airport in Chicago extends over 12 square miles, most of which are not fully exploited. Therefore, we decided to create a new form of city, 650 feet above ground level, which will be built on top of the existing lanes or runways of the airfield.

“Our goal is to create an aerotropolis – an airport which integrates residential solutions, economic opportunities and cultural experiences, which, we think, will bring people closer together.”

Fentress’ Curtis Fentress, noted: “Each year the Fentress Global Challenge captures the creativity of young talent as contestants conceive innovative design ideas that create a better physical environment for our future world.

“The critical thinking and quality of ideas presented in this year’s competition were no exception; the entries were absolutely stunning.”


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