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The Green Gateway wins Fentress Architects’ global design competition


The votes are in and The Green Gateway – a zero-emission, highly sustainable multimodal hub – has been named as the winner of the 2020 version of the Fentress Global Challenge (FGC) design competition.

Launched by Fentress Architects in 2011, the annual global student design competition represents a key part of the firm’s commitment to advancing innovative design in public architecture and attracts students from around the world.

With over 100 submissions from students in over 15 countries, this year’s competition challenged participants to envisage airport mobility in the year 2100.

Participants proposed a diverse spectrum of design concepts to improve the airport passenger terminal building, addressing the key factors such as futuristic transportation technologies, urbanisation, globalisation, technology, flexibility, security, project feasibility, and passenger experience.

According to Fentress, the 2020 winning proposals reflect the radical innovation, quality and curiosity required to advance airport terminal design, with the winning designers – Nikhil Bang and Kaushal Tatiya from the Southern California Institute of Architecture – receiving a first-place prize valued at around $15,000.

“A deep passion for design and a creative mindset are the cornerstone of any successful design competition submission,” enthuses Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, principal in charge of design at Fentress Architects.

“Each year, the submissions we receive are more innovative, spirited and dynamic than the prior year, which shows an exciting outlook for the future of terminal design. We’re greatly impressed by this year’s winners and every submission we received.”

The Green Gateway
The winning concept (pictured above), transforms Indira Gandhi International Airport into a “forward-thinking, sustainable multi-modal hub that mitigates the environmental impacts of air travel while enhancing mobility across New Delhi, India, one of the most populated and polluted cities in the world”.

The design, dubbed “The Green Gateway,” proposes a future where airports are more than buildings; they provide a seamless connection to the cultural context of the site, from their planning to their form and materiality.

Embracing sustainable design strategies, the zero-emission concept features a decentralised system of one central terminal and six towers dispersed throughout the city.

The towers provide a dual purpose, working as both air-purifying centres and stations for flying cars. This solution significantly improves mobility across the city by replacing domestic flights as one of the major sources of pollution.

The students’ submission describes the airport’s design as “zero-emission at the macro and micro level, improving mobility across the city by replacing domestic flight as one of the major sources of pollution and making air travel a personal affair.”

Second Place Winner
What does travel and transportation look like in 2100? According to second-place winner Dušan Sekulic – a student at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia – fully autonomous pods, driving chairs, AI-powered navigation, and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft will be key ingredients to designing the next-gen airport experience.

The concept proposes reimagining Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) – the busiest airport in the world – as a drive-in airport where travellers’ individual pods and driving chairs bring them directly to the aircraft.

Playing off of Atlanta’s reputation as a ‘city in the forest’, the new ATL will feature a green design approach, merging the airport with the city’s skyline to create an ‘airport in the forest’.

Third Place Winner
This year’s third-place winner responded to an ever-important reality: how airport design can prepare airports located in high density seaside cities to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Floating Aero City – designed by Yuanxiang Chan, Chaofan Zhang, and Zhuangzhuang King from Beijing Jiaotong University –is said to provide a highly visionary approach to sustainable design.

Located in Hong Kong, the airport responds to the site’s subtropical climate conditions and high density issues.

Floating on Hong Kong’s ocean, the airport’s three-dimensional, moveable platform reduces the impact on the natural terrain while increasing available land.

The structure’s vertical form significantly reduces the time it takes passengers to flow from check-in to boarding, enhancing the overall passenger experience. Sustainable design strategies include daylighting, tidal power generation, a circular runway and hydrogen-powered aircraft.

People’s Choice Awards
The Vertebrae, designed by Yi Yang Chai and Sharon Cho from the University of Malaya, won the #1 People’s Choice Award with more than 6,200 public votes.

According to its creators, its biophilic harmonises the built environment with nature to create a ‘garden city’ – the future airport archetype that forms a contextual representation of its culture.

Located in Singapore, the concept infuses a biophilic and sustainable approach into every element of the design to envisage the airport as a model of sustainability while amplifying the country’s national identity.

“This is a beautiful concept with a strong connection to existing structures and attention to the environment,” said Lois Kramer, a 2020 FGC Juror and CEO at KRAMER aerotek inc.

“The design is resilient in how it addresses air pollution and possibility of evolving modes of transportation.”

Gaining over 5,900 public votes, O’Pon the Hill Airport landed the #2 People’s Choice Award.

Designed by Ridwan Arifin, Imaduddin Dhia Ul-Fath and Ervin Dwiratno from Yogyakarta University of Technology, the concept blends culture, history and technology to envisage the future of Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

This futuristic terminal features a Smart Air Pad to accommodate vertical take-off and landing. Equipped with nanotechnology, the Smart Air Pad examines the performance of aircraft.

Additionally, People Mover Pods move passengers throughout the terminal, enhancing circulation and the overall passenger experience.

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