National Capital Planning Commission & Commission of Fine Arts Approve Fentress Architects Design
ARLINGTON, VA – The Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc. (PMF) recently passed a critical milestone in the development of a Visitor Education Center at the site of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) approved the concept design by Fentress Architects following an approval in July from the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). The Visitor Education Center will be located within walking distance of the Pentagon Memorial. It is also in close proximity to Arlington National Cemetery and the US Air Force Memorial.
“With these approvals, the PMF has reached a milestone that will allow us to take the next step in building a visitors’ education center to tell the story of the terrorist attacks, the victims and responders and the subsequent national and international.” said Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc. Board Chairman and President Sean T. Connaughton. “This history must be preserved and accurately passed on to future American generations. We must never forget.”
While the Pentagon site was the first to have a 9/11 memorial, it is also the only site still lacking a visitors’ center. The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center will honor the 184 victims of the attack on the Pentagon as well as explore the local, national, and international response to 9/11 and subsequent Global War on Terror. Therefore, the Visitor Education Center is anticipated to function as a national convening space for the examination of these responses, and their continuing impact.
“The new Visitor Education Center at the 9/11 Memorial will be a dynamic structure—imbued with meaning, conducive to contemplation, and encouraging of resilience,” explains Curtis Worth Fentress, Founder and Principal-in-Charge of Design at Fentress Architects.
Over $14 million has been raised to support the creation of a 9/11 Pentagon Memorial’s Visitor Education Center. Major donors include Amazon & Amazon Web Services, the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, Transurban, Accenture, the J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation, and the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. With these two key approvals in place, the Pentagon Memorial Fund has launched a campaign to raise the balance of funds necessary to complete the Visitor Education Center in time for the 25th commemoration of the 9/11 attacks, which will occur in 2026.
About Pentagon Memorial Fund
Families of the victims of the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon formed PMF in 2003. The National Memorial was dedicated five years later as a public and private partnership. The PMF continues to support the Memorial with private funding and volunteer docents. Up to one million annual visitors experience the memorial today including many school groups from all over the United States. For more information on PMF, including how to give, visit pentagonmemorial.org.
Fentress Architects is a global design firm dedicated to the creation of sustainable and iconic architecture that enhances the human environment. Founded in 1980 by Curtis Fentress, the firm’s portfolio serves over 650 million people annually, valued at over $47 billion, and has earned more than 600 distinctions for design excellence and innovation. For more information about Fentress Architects, visit fentressarchitects.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Visitor Education Center Design Team
Design Architect & Architect of Record: Fentress Architects, Ltd.
Owner’s Representative: Mark G. Anderson Consultants, Inc.
Nashville International Airport (BNA) welcomed a record 18.4 million passengers in 2022, besting the previous high by seven percent. Years of increasing passenger volume among both domestic and international travelers prompted by the creation of BNA Vision in 2017. BNA Vision comprises nine major building projects supporting a capacity of more than 23 million annual passengers.
“We’re thrilled to be creating exciting architecture for such a vibrant city, and at the same time also supporting the growing passenger volume and a great passenger experience at BNA,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA Principal in Charge of Design with design architect Fentress Architects.
Fentress Architects began working at BNA in 2017 on projects including:
Concourse D and Terminal Wings (opened July 2020)
Terminal Lobby (opened January 2023)
International Arrivals Facility (opened September 2023)
Concourse D Extension (2025)
TERMINAL LOBBY with CANOPY, PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, & CENTRAL CORE
The new terminal lobby features a waved roof canopy that extends from the terminal garage to the International Arrivals Facility (IAF). This canopy provides coverage for roadway and curbside access to and from the terminal as well as a new pedestrian walkway bridge. The pedestrian bridge promotes efficient passenger traffic flow by connecting the central core with a garage plaza, administration building and future hotel. The central core vertically connects all five levels from the Transportation Center to the new pedestrian bridge.
INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS FACILITY
The new IAF opened at the end of September 2023. Included with this project is a central concession marketplace located between the security screening checkpoint and the international gates. The marketplace optimizes services and amenities available to both international and domestic passengers.
The IAF includes:
Six international gates to meet the rising demand from Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
A bags-first approach with automated passport controls (APTs) to expedite throughput.
An international arrivals tunnel connecting directly to a meter greeter area and the ground transportation facilities.
Expanded and consolidated security screening checkpoints with additional lanes to minimize wait times and expedite the screening process.
Expanded space for future airline clubs.
CONCOURSE D & EXTENSION
Fentress Architects’ design of the 115,000-square-foot Concourse D opened in 2020 and yielded six new departure gates along with associated amenities and function space. Fentress Architects is currently working on an extension to Concourse D that will include five additional gates. This 160,000-square-foot extension also includes outdoor space that will afford departing and arriving passenger’s exceptional views of the airfield and a unique opportunity to go outside at BNA. A circular node design at the end of the concourse extension symbolizes a classical record to celebrate Nashville’s deep musical history.
Image by Andrew Keithly PhotographyImage by Andrew Keithly Photography
Sustainability and comfort are paramount for all BNA projects undertaken by Fentress Architects. All facilities are designed to achieve a minimum of USGBC LEED Silver Certification. Electrochromic glass was utilized throughout in skylights, clerestories, and curtainwalls. This “smart” glass automatically and constantly adjusts to fluctuations in solar radiation to manage daylighting and energy use effectively and efficiently.
AIA Colorado selected Fentress Architects’ Royal Norwegian Embassy Renovation for an Award of Merit. This award recognizes exemplary projects that reinforce the value of outstanding architecture and its positive contributions to the community.
The Royal Norwegian Embassy Renovation added an at-grade main entrance, a versatile indoor-outdoor ceremonial space and exterior enhancements that maximize natural daylight. The renovation also provided a comprehensive interior remodel and the addition of the Atlantic Ocean Hall.
The primary goals for the renovation were to provide a sustainable, functional, and contemporary office for foreign diplomats and staff. At the same time, the renovation also sought to preserve the embassy’s historic character. Upgrades such as an improved thermal envelope, energy-efficient windows, and sustainable landscaping align with the project’s environmental objectives. These features also ensure the building maintains a dignified yet distinctive presence on Washington D.C.’s Embassy Row.
The Denver Art Museum Martin Building Renovation has achieved yet another remarkable milestone by winning the Architizer A+ Awards Popular Choice Winner accolade. This recognition highlights the project’s profound impact on the world of architecture and art. Through an unique blend of visionary design and meticulous execution, the renovation breathes new life into the museum. The Popular Choice Winner title reflects the overwhelming support and admiration from the public and the design community alike. This accomplishment further solidifies the Martin Building Renovation’s status as a transformative work of architecture.
The Orlando International Airport’s South Terminal Complex wins a Special Recognition Architizer A+ Award. This accolade celebrates the terminal complex as a innovative architectural project that redefines air travel experiences. The project’s state-of-the-art design to create a seamless blend of functionality and aesthetics, setting new standards in airport architecture. The Architizer A+ Special Recognition Award highlights the complex’s role in shaping the future of travel infrastructure, and its recognition showcases the collaborative efforts of architects, engineers, and designers who have brought this visionary design to life.
The Royal Norwegian Embassy Renovation is an extraordinary architectural achievement. In fact, it just won the 2022 Grand Award from the Washington DC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. This project effortlessly blends historical significance with contemporary design, showcasing a harmonious marriage of past and present. The award underscores the meticulous restoration and state-of-the-art architectural solutions that have breathed new life into the embassy. The renovation not only preserves the embassy’s cultural legacy but also transforms it into a symbol of modern sophistication and functionality.
The Fred D. Thompson U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building stands as a beacon of architectural excellence, recently honored with the prestigious Excellence in Construction Award. Recognized in the esteemed category of “Mega Projects over $100 million.” Named after the distinguished statesman Fred D. Thompson, the courthouse and federal building seamlessly marries form and function, embodying the principles of justice and transparency.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the gateway to Central Florida’s thriving business community, theme parks including the Walt Disney World Resort, miles of spectacular beaches and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
Terminal C will introduce the next generation of The Orlando Experience®. Terminal C builds upon the established MCO aesthetic of air, water and sky. It includes a seamless, low-touch environment that offers an exciting combination of concessions, interactive media displays and iconic architecture. Upon opening, Terminal C will serve up to 12 million passengers annually. It will also feature a new Federal Inspection Service (FIS) facility as well as 15 new gates (accommodating up to 20 aircraft). Amenities will include a nursing station and pet relief areas. At full build out, Terminal C can increase capacity at MCO up to 60 million passengers annually.
“This summer MCO will debut the new Terminal C, which is designed to support growing passenger volume and reinforce the airport’s reputation for excellence in traveller satisfaction,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA Principal in Charge of Design with design architect Fentress Architects.
Elevating The Orlando Experience® with Iconic Architecture
Design architect Fentress Architects, together with HNTB as architect of record, designed Terminal C to be an iconic gateway to the entire region.
“An airport should be reflective of the environment and region it serves as well as meet the needs of its passengers. For Orlando, that means architecturally identifying with subtropical vegetation and wildlife as well as numerous world-classattractions. It also means understanding a very diverse passenger profile; each with their own unique expectations of the Orlando Experience. Terminal C will offer passengers the best in technology and operations, and also a very friendly, hospitable environment,” said Fentress.
Among the terminal’s signature architectural elements is The Prow. It sets an uplifting tone at curbside, especially when seen against a dramatic Florida sky. Ambient natural light will flow in from this curbside curtainwall, as well as from the Terminal’s skylit spine. This will help bring the outdoors in and guides passengers to world-class amenities and onto their gate.
“Innovation and sophisticated design that reflects elements of the Central Florida community combine to deliver a world-class travel experience,” says Kevin Thibault, CEO, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “Terminal C will be so much more than a transfer point from one place to another. It will serve as a multimodal memorable entryway for passengers visiting, living and working in the region.”
All major building elements—ticketing, security, concessions, gates and baggage claim—will be aligned along a Boulevard. This will lead passengers on a linear journey. A Grand Skylight that introduces dappled daylight and supports lush foliage will adorn this Boulevard.
“The tinted glass panels of the Grand Skylight dapple and diffuse sunlight, which creates an effect reminiscent of light coming through Orlando’s historic orange groves,” said Fentress.
The Boulevard will also connect Terminal C’s two signature civic spaces—Palm Court and Town Square—with the MCO’s Intermodal Terminal Facility. The Facility supports up to four rail systems, including Brightline’s inter-city service. Palm Court is located airside, at the terminus of the Boulevard skylight. It is the grandest of Terminal C’s civic spaces. As such, this vibrant location will feature shopping, experiential media, dining, socializing and relaxation lounges in a daylit, garden-like atmosphere. The design of second-story retail and lofted airline clubs means they will overlook Palm Court and its experiential media element, which will feature an interactive exploration of Orlando’s various destinations.
Meanwhile, Town Square is located landside, at the terminus of an elevated international arrivals corridor. This light-filled, spacious arrivals hall on the terminal’s upper-most level will provide a stark contrast to the buried baggage claims found in so many other airports. It is imbued with a sense of welcoming and openness to enhance the international and domestic passenger experience.
With the help of recently developed baggage conveyance technology, Terminal C will reverse the traditional paradigm of arrivals on the lower level and departures on the upper level. Passengers arriving—often from long flights—will be directed to a unique and uplifting experience: the upper-most level of the terminal. Awash in filtered Central Florida sunlight with majestic views of the local natural environment, this immediate and immersive experience will at once orient travelers to both Orlando and the United States. Easy access to restrooms and concessions, in a pleasant environment, will further cater to travelers innate needs.
Departing travelers will have a similarly pleasant experience. Flexibility is the intention for everything from intuitive parking and drop-off areas to a new ticketing hall. Additionally, they are outfitted with kiosks and outstanding customer service representatives. Security will be similarly intuitive, orderly and responsive.
An Experiential Media Environment (EME) has been seamlessly integrated into the terminal’s architecture. All three EME elements specifically serve to celebrate the region’s dynamic identity. They also highlight for visitors the robust offerings of Central Florida’s natual and developed attractions.
Moment Vault, located in Palm Court, offers departing passengers a 360-degree immersive experience. The Vault combines silhouettes gathered from strategically placed cameras located throughout the space with striking video footage from local points of interest. Highlights in the 23 capsules that run 109 minutes include underwater play in deep blue springs with a school of bioluminescent fish and an excursion to the surface of Mars where red rocks have a life of their own.
The Portal, located in Town Square (also known as the arrivals hall), rises three-stories high. 32 custom curved screens suspended in a helical frame comprise the feature. Synchronized content plays on both interior and exterior screens, offering 26 capsules that run 125 minutes and tell a visual story of the transformation of Central Florida from natural springs and ranchlands to the dawn of Disney, the launch into space exploration and a bounty of entertainment opportunities.
Windows on Orlando, located along the airside concourse, is a 100-foot-long, 32-foot-tall display comprised of three adjacent, panoramic screens. Select Central Florida locations were captured in 20 capsules that run 79 minutes. Highlights include a rocket launch sequence filmed from the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center and an afternoon ride under open skies to round up cattle with cowhands at the Deseret Ranch in St. Cloud.
Hi-Tech, Low Touch
An increasingly touchless experience will bolster international and domestic passenger growth at MCO. Touchpoints, also known as points of contact or interaction, occur at check-in, security, concessions, boarding, customs and more. These have long been hallmarks of the passenger experience. That said, over the past few decades, airport planners and designers have helped lessen the time spent at touchpoints. In doing so, they have made the airport experience both more efficient and pleasant.
Terminal C has the design of a linear/pier configuration. This minimizes transit times for departing passengers to an average of eleven minutes. Additionally, Terminal C will engage a variety of biometric devices including:
100-percent automated screening lanes in TSA checkpoint.
100-percent facial recognition at all 15 gates for international arrival and departures.
Terminal C will be as sustainable as possible thanks to a long list of design strategies. Strategies include the deployment of reduced water-consumption and irrigation systems, responsive lighting and temperature control systems. Also involved are solar panels, non-toxic adhesives and non-painted natural materials. Together, these and other strategies are likely to support an award of Silver or Gold LEED Certification by the US Green Building Council. If awarded, Terminal C will be the first LEED®v4 airport campus of any level in the world.
The Denver Art Museum Martin Building Renovation has been honored with the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award, a testament to its visionary renovation. This project breathes new life into a cultural landmark.