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Global design competition reveals potential airports of the future


Ten entries have been shortlisted for the 2021 Fentress Global Challenge (FGC), which garnered more than 80 entries from students around the globe.

FGC is an annual international student design competition launched in 2011 by Curtis Fentress, that encourages and rewards innovative design in public architecture.

This year’s competition challenged students to envision airport mobility in the year 2100.

Students were able to choose between siting the new terminal at an existing airfield – such as at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) or Beijing Capital International (PEK) or at a yet undeveloped site —such as in Atafu in the South Pacific Ocean or Canillo in Andorra.

Various modes of transport were explored including pods for intra-airport transport. Maglev cars, drones, hyperloops, hydrofoils, and air-rails were among the methods of inter-airport transport proposed.

Additionally, several different types of aircraft were studied including anti-gravity, vertical take off, rockets, and spaceships.

Entries were evaluated base upon five criteria including technology and sustainability.

Some submissions envisaged airports able to create their own biofuel from algae and symbiotic bacteria. Others created floating structures that sought to restore coral reefs and ocean ecosystems.

Most designs derived shape and form from biomimicry and parametric equations. Gardens, greenhouses, photovoltaic cells and wind were also incorporated into many designs. Artificial intelligence helped enhance several of functions and addressed issues such as COVID-19 and terrorism.

Several new building techniques have been explored including 3D printing and modular structures.

The 2021 Shortlist includes Urban Travelator (pictured above) by Dinel Meyepa from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and AILY (below) by Liyang Wang from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Other shortlisted designs include AJQ GROUP by Qian Yu, Alexandra Terekhova and Joseph Cook from the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria;  Adaptive Antifragile by Gee Yang Tan from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore; The Future Cell by Assem Attia from UACEG in Sofia, Bulgaria; and Decentralized Airport (below), a potential view of the future of Chicago O’Hare by Tam Dinh from University of Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The shortlist will be judged virtually by a jury of renowned airport architects, directors, planners, and scholars with the winners announced December 1, 2021.

Apart from the prestige of having their submissions shortlisted , the lucky three winners will share $20,000 in prize money between them while $1,000 will be given to the winners of two People’s Choice Awards.

Voting for People’s Choice has already begun on the Fentress Architects Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/FentressArch/

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