Concept for Visitor Education Center at 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is Approved

National Capital Planning Commission & Commission of Fine Arts Approve Fentress Architects Design

Rendering of the Visitor Education Center at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial © Fentress Architects

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

Contact: // (202) 417 6590

About Fentress Architects

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 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.
  • Exhibit Design: The PRD Group, LLC
  • Contractor: James G. Davis Construction Corp.
Rendering of Lower Entry © Fentress Architects
Section Rendering © Fentress Architects
Rendering of Upper Entry © Fentress Architects
Upper Facade Rendering © Fentress Architects
Site Plan © Fentress Architects

New International Arrivals Facility & Terminal Lobby Open at Nashville International Airport

Image by Andrew Keithly Photography


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) 


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.


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.


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. 


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.

World-Class Design for MCO’s New Terminal C

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.

Orlando International Airport’s New Terminal C Gate Seating and Informational Bulletin
Construction 2022 – Arriving international passengers will be directed to a skybridge on the upper level of the concourse, which will take them to a new Federal Inspection Service facility. Photo © Matthew Good

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.Diagram

Description automatically generated

© Fentress Architects 

Uplifting Experiences: Arrival & Departure

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. 

Orlando International Airport’s New Terminal C Main Walkway Ceiling and Floor Design
Construction 2022 – The Boulevard, capped by a Grand Skylight, will connect ticketing, security, concessions, gates and baggage claim. Photo © Matthew Good

Interactive Media

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.
Orlando International Airport’s New Terminal C Walkway and Gate Seating Areas
Construction 2022 –  Windows on Orlando (an experiential media environment) will adorn the airside concourse, which will serve 15 gates outfitted with facial recognition. Photo © Matthew Good

Sustainable Design

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.

Royal Norwegian Embassy Opens New Chancery to the Public

Fentress’ first-ever embassy project reinforces Norway’s diplomatic bond with the United States, and advances the Embassy’s mission for world peace, fairness and sustainability. 

Royal Norwegian Embassy Opens New Chancery

Established in 1905, Norway’s Embassy is located on the venerable Embassy Row in Washington, DC. It resides between the Vice President’s residence and the National Cathedral.  Its 1970-era Chancery recently underwent an 30,000-square-foot expansion and renovation.  Fentress Architects designed this essential element of Norway’s largest embassy complex in to be culturally symbolic. Additionally, the embassy is architecturally harmonious, modernized, sustainable and universally accessible.

Architecture can play a profound role in the diplomatic environment. Therefore, every element of the project was carefully considered for staff, guests, and diplomatic relations alike.  Four principles guided this effort: Handlekraft (vigor), Arbeidsglede (joy of work), Profesjonalitet (professionalism) and Åpenhet (openness). 

“While providing significant functional, accessibility and sustainability upgrades, our architecture makes Norway’s rich heritage visible on one of the most culturally significant streets in the world.”
— Steve White, Principal & Director of the Washington DC Office, Fentress Architects


The transformed Chancery is comprised of three elements: a stone shell, a cocoon, and a copper-clad mass timber hull. The mass and forms of the limestone-clad stone shell are deliberately segmented and scaled to show deference to the Ambassador’s residence. They blend harmoniously with the historic residential neighborhood. While the vast majority of the existing structure and limestone cladding were retained and restored, strategic interventions were made to the stone façade. They now open up new views of the garden and public street, block undesired views from neighbors, and introduce generous daylight within. 

The wood-finned curtainwall cocoon wraps internal elements including the lobby atrium and Social Hub. It also extrudes externally to screen rooftop elements. An open stair connects a two-story space known as the “Social Hub.” This hub functions as a venue for staff to engage in intellectual dialogue and build community.

A copper-clad mass timber hull helps to demarcate and celebrate diplomatic spaces. Wrapped in copper, an open, gracious and accessible new entry to the Embassy results from lowering the original lobby structure seven feet and eliminating an associated obtrusive staircase. Copper cladding recalls Norway’s gift of copper for the Statue of Liberty. Adjacent to the entry is Atlantic Ocean Hall. This hall incorporates the old garden wall and captured underutilized courtyard space.  Atlantic Ocean features a new mass timber structure that recalls Viking mastery of shipbuilding and woodworking. In rhythm with the historic windows, the structure’s spruce columns alternate in a triangular grid. This eliminates the need for additional cross bracing and creates a dramatic, yet intimate space for Norwegian hospitality and diplomacy.  The mansard form of the roof is appropriate to the neighborhood and gives the Atlantic Ocean Hall its distinctive shape. 


Given that sustainability is a tenet of the Embassy’s mission, it was also a tenet of the design.  Reusing existing buildings is inherently more sustainable than new construction. Accordingly, we reused 90-percent of the existing structure with only 3,500 square feet added.  Interventions focused on increasing program area within the existing footprint, enhancing the indoor and outdoor environment, and improving systems performance.

For example, previously underutilized areas are now flexible, multi-use rooms. Likewise, a spacious staff lunchroom can accomodate large informal meetings. It also provides food-prep support to Atlantic Ocean Hall and Courtyard functions.  Smaller, multi-use spaces exist throughout both office wings.  Flex spaces such as these, along with open office layouts, more easily accommodate future needs. In fact, all office spaces were completely reconfigured and improved. Likewise, a cold, dark, north-facing courtyard terrace between the two office wings was glazed-in. It now features a social gathering space and coffee bar.

Bioswales that harvest rainwater from roofs and gardens now flank the entry plaza. These bioswales feature native, pollinator-friendly garden species.  Atlantic Ocean Hall opens out onto a large, terraced garden. The garden features structured turf for tented events, a rain garden with native species, flowering perennials, mature trees, and a semi-private Ambassador’s Walk.  Additional sustainable strategies included: 

  • Almost half the site is open space, planted with native and adaptive, pollinator-friendly species. All parking is underground, with electric charging stations for cars and bicycles. All street trees, which are also mature and considered heritage, were retained.
  • Bioretention planters and permeable pavements manage all the run-off on-site, eliminating any burden to the Rock Creek watershed. Indoor water use is 25% less than baseline.
  • Thermal envelope upgrades, new low-e double-glazing, and fritted skylights result in a projected energy cost savings of 21.8-percent over the ASHRAE-90.1 baseline.
  • The wood and copper structures highlight natural materials and promote traditional skills and craftsmanship. These may also be disassembled, reused and recycled.
  • Sustainably harvested wood made up 2.5-percent of the total value of architectural construction material.

[Atlantic Ocean Hall, a] year-round, indoor-outdoor space has already hosted climate-focused presentations and events, and turns diplomats and visitors into tree huggers. 
— Arild Ravlo Hersleth, Project Manager, Statsbygg


Standby power, durable technology infrastructure, and a robust building enclosure system are among the many elements that reinforce structural resilience within the Chancery.  In addition to being amply secure, the Chancery also features an accessible and transparent street presence. An internal elevator connects all levels. Restrooms are gender neutral. Textured stair landings assist the vision-impaired.

New and repurposed art pieces included further enliven the spaces. Metamorphosis—a significant larvikite granite sculpture by Knut Steen (1986)—was relocated to the garden. The building also features five new, specially-commissioned major installations. One of these is the 18-foot long Dreams Ahead, by Ann Cathrin November Høibo. This hangs in the lobby atrium space and is visible from the public right of way along 34th Street.

In April 2022 the Embassy Renovation Project won its first award from the Washington, DC Chapter of the AIA.

Royal Norwegian Embassy Opens New Chancery
A portal opening on the western façade creates a dignified, open, and transparent greeting and gesture of hospitality towards visitors to the Embassy. © Alan Karchmer / OTTO

Royal Norwegian Embassy Opens New Chancery
Norway’s Embassy is located on the venerable Embassy Row in Washington, DC between the Vice President’s residence and the National Cathedral. © Alan Karchmer / OTTO

An expansive curtainwall system on the southern and eastern sides of the façade maximizes daylight and views to the garden with vertical wooden fins that accentuate the curtainwall. © Alan Karchmer / OTTO

An open stair connects the two-story space – now the “Social Hub” – a place for staff to have intellectual dialogue and community. © Alan Karchmer / OTTO

The new and accessible lobby seating area. Public Art peice Dreams Ahead, by Ann Cathrin November Høibo, hangs in the atrium space. © Alan Karchmer / OTTO

The Embassy office spaces were completely reconfigured and improved between the two office wings, a cold, dark, north-facing courtyard terrace is glazed-in, creating a coffee bar and lounge. © Alan Karchmer / OTTO

The garden room is a new mass timber structure that recalls Viking mastery of shipbuilding and woodworking. © Alan Karchmer / OTTO

Looking out the garden room at the art piece Metamorphosis, a significant larvikite granite sculpture by Knut Steen designed in 1986. © Alan Karchmer / OTTO


  • With a staff of 60, the Embassy in Washington is Norway’s largest. 
  • The original chancery was built in 1977 as a two-story, limestone-clad structure. It contained basement parking, staff offices and diplomat apartments.  
  • The first structure built on the Embassy grounds was an historic Italianate residence for the ambassador.  Completed in 1931, this was also the second foreign service mission to be constructed in the United States on the venerable Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue.  It is a beautifully articulated expression of early 20th century neo-classical architecture. The Italianate structure features a symmetrical tripartite arrangement: rusticated base, piano Nobile and hipped roof. Its Indiana-limestone façade includes quoining and an ornamental bracketed cornice. Piano Nobile fenestration consists of pedimented limestone openings with Juliette balcony balustrade. The slate roof is hipped and symmetrical with the façade. Extending from the house to the north, as part of the 34th Street experience, is a rusticated one-story limestone garden wall, which encloses a beautifully manicured landscape.

Fentress Architects Selected for the California Indian Heritage Center

CIHC will honor the rich heritage, traditions and cultures of the first peoples of California

SACRAMENTO, CA—California State Parks and the California Indian Heritage Center Task Force today announced Fentress Architects as the firm to design the long-desired build out of the California Indian Heritage Center (CIHC). Once complete, visitors from across California, the nation, and the world will be drawn to this center of statewide significance. It will be a home for cultural preservation, learning and exchange, land stewardship based on Native American values, and a place to engage all visitors celebrating the living cultures of California tribal communities.

The 51-acre CIHC site is located at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers in West Sacramento. The project constitutes a decades-long collaboration and demonstrates the state’s commitment to and responsibility for partnering with California Native American tribal governments and communities along with allied individuals and institutions to develop the site. CIHC’s design and development began in earnest with the commitment in the State’s 2018-2019 budget to invest $100 million in state funds. An additional $100 million was authorized in the budget for the phased buildout via private and philanthropic support. In December 2018, the Governor’s Office issued Executive Order B-60-18. This order directed the Tribal Advisor to establish a task force that would oversee the development of the CIHC. The Tribal Advisor established a CIHC Task Force of California Native American tribal and community leaders in 2019 to inform and lead the project until its completion.

In the next few months, the CIHC Task Force, California State Parks and Fentress Architects will kick off a public engagement process, including extensive tribal outreach. Members of the public and tribal communities who would like to be notified of upcoming events and/or receive information on how they can get involved with the project are invited to contact State Parks via email at or by visiting the project website at The project is anticipated to open to the public in 2028.

Fentress Architects was chosen out of 22 firms who submitted a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) for the project. The CIHC Task Force and California State Parks established a subcommittee to review and interview the design firms. Based jointly out of Denver, Colorado and Sacramento, California, Fentress Architects has designed 52 museums. Projects include gallery spaces and cultural heritage centers. Fentress Architects is partnering with Amatoollik Studios for Native American architecture consultation and tribal outreach, Dennis Hendricks from Tuolumne Band of Miwok Indians as the CIHC Tribal Liaison and James Pepper Henry, Vice Chairman Kaw Nation, and Director of First American Museum (FAM) in Oklahoma City for public engagement, outreach and expertise on museum operation and programming. The team brings over 35 years of experience in Native American outreach, public engagement and design throughout the U.S.

Subscribe to California State Parks News via e-mail at

California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.

Fentress Global Challenge

Winners Announced in 2021: Airport of the Future, Student Design Competition

Fentress Architects is excited to announce the winners of Fentress Global Challenge (FGC) 2021: Airport of the Future, which garnered over 80 entries from students around the globe. This year’s competition challenged students to envision airport mobility in the year 2100.  The winning entries reflect the radical innovation, quality and curiosity required to advance airport terminal design.

Fentress Global Challenge 1st Place Design

Carmina Ferreras and Oluwarotimi Osiberu

1ST PLACE with a US$15,000 cash prize & PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 1 with a US$1,000 cash prize

Ferreras and Osiberu are third-year Master of Architecture students at North Carolina State University.  Ferreras is a former high school math teather interested in connecting communities through advancements in technology and sustainability.  Oluwarotimi came to United States in 2009 from Nigeria, Africa and is interested in spaces that foster healthy communities. Their entry imagines a new airport in Yokohama, Japan to help alleviate congestion at Tokyo International Airport.  The new hub is designed to serve hypersonic, subsonic, and VTOL flights that will access the furthest corners of the earth.  As a multimodal modal facility, it also incorporates rail systems and boats to fully link land, sea, and air.  Concourses feature vast, traditional gardens and views to marine wildlife.  Walkthough security and facial recognition scan passengers to create a seamless airport experience.  An internal tram system helps move passengers and also offers views of gardens and nearby Mt. Fuji. 

Fentress Global Challenge 2nd Place

Liyang Wang 

2ND PLACE with a US$3,000 cash prize

Wang, a student at the Yale School of Architecture, imagined an airport located on the northern corner of Atafu, Tokelau.  It utilizes a series of sun powered runways that move to accommodate airplane operations.  The airport also helps grow and then transplant coral from a nursery to reefs below.  Travelers can take part in observing the process, which will subsequently help cultivate climate awareness. 

Fentress Global Challenge 3rd Place Design

Tan Gee Yang

3RD PLACE with a US$2,000 cash prize

Yang, a student at Singapore University of Technology and Design, chose Singapore Changi Airport as the site. This entry envisions a reconfigureable and dynamic airport that uses data and machine learning to reconfigure itself in response to demand. Passengers, such as business travelers or vacationing families, would have routes in unique directions to fit their specific needs.  Reconfigurable pods would accommodate new retail experiences, attractions, and rest areas.

Assem Attia

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 2 with a US$1,000 cash prize

Assem, a student at University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria garnered the most votes on Facebook with an entry that is shaped as Voronoi cells using parametric design.  Buildings have trees integrated and planes land and take off vertically from a platform.

At a time when infrastructure is of utmost importantance to so many communities, FGC affirms that the next generation of designers are capable of envisioning both sustainable and user-friendly solutions.  Entrants needed to improve upon at least one primary factor influencing airport terminal building design in 2100 such as mobility, urbanization, globalization, technology, flexibility, security, project feasibility, and passenger experience.  As for location, entrants 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 on a yet undeveloped site—such as in Atafu, Tokelau or Canillo, Andorra. 

“Passion for design and a creative mindset are the cornerstone of any successful design competition” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects. “Each year, the submissions we receive are more innovative, sustainable, and dynamic than the prior year, which reveals an exciting outlook for the future of terminal design.”

The entries were evaluated on five criteria—creative approach and presentation; response to site; sustainability and resiliency; functionality; and innovation and technology—by a a jury of renowned professionals in the field of aviation, which included:

  • Blake Scholl, Founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic
  • Dan Bartholomew, Airport Director at Aspen/Pitkin County Airport
  • Dan Symonds, Editor of Passenger Terminal World 
  • David Laielli, Senior Technical Architect for Airport Terminal Buildings at AECOM
  • Melvin Price, Associate Principal with Jacobs

Seattle Airport’s North Satellite Modernization Project Opens in Conjunction with First Ever Art + Cultural Festival

On November 4, 2021, travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) had the opportunity to participate in the airport’s first-ever art and culture-filled festival. Named Experience SEA @ N, it coincided with the opening of SEA’s new N Concourse, also known as the North Satellite Modernization Project. The airport debuted a dedicated performance stage on which artists performed live music, a poetry reading and spoken word. Other festival highlights included art tours, special promotions and samplings from Tundra Taqueria, SEA Roast Coffee House and Filson (opening in December).

“This event celebrates the natural and cultural richness of the Pacific Northwest,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Fred Felleman. “The building embodies our values of creating economic opportunities in an inclusive and environmentally responsible manner.”

The North Satellite Modernization Project elevates the travel experience with the comforts travelers crave. It specifically has more room, more views, and more Pacific Northwest feels. The newly renovated N Concourse features modern amenities as well as seismic upgrades, sustainable features and improved building function. Design Architect Fentress Architects and Architect of Record AECOM with Construction Company Hensel Phelps were responsible for the project.

Curtis Fentress, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects, said “N Concourse is now emblamatic of the Pacific Northwest, its majestic sights and sounds. Every element of the design works in concert to orient travelers as it greets visitors and welcomes home residents.”  Indeed, this bigger, brighter and bolder space betters travelers’ experiences with more dining and retail options, a diverse art collection that reflects the culture, spirit and history of the region, nature inspired design and a brand-new performance stage.

Workers logged more than 2.1 million labor hours to build the facility over four years. It has ten new passenger gates and a spectacular Alaska Airlines Lounge. Also included is the airport’s first system to collect and reuse rainwater. Many built-in amenities make travel effortless for all.

“Hensel Phelps and our trade partners often come together to build complex projects, but the North Satellite Modernization Project was a unique opportunity to not only work through challenging logistics and safety, but to truly change the impression and experience of so many traveling to our area,” said Hensel Phelps Vice President Shannon Gustine. “This is a unique experience, and we are honored to have been a part of such an amazing team effort.”


In 2012, SEA introduced live music at the airport. It showcases the diversity of music culture in the Northwest while concurrently bettering the travel experience. Since the program’s launch, musicians have performed a wide range of styles from jazz to blues, folk and acoustic pop.

“Live music has been a part of the SEA scene for many years, but we have never hosted a festival of culture and arts at this scale,” said SEA Managing Director Lance Lyttle. “The debut performances on this stage will be something to remember with three music sets, one spoken word artist and the state’s Poet Laureate. Listen in, lean in and experience SEA.”

Prior to COVID-19, the airport hosted live music seven days a week. Experience SEA @ N was the first-time music filled the terminal since the beginning of the pandemic.  It also inaugurated the stage in Marketplace at N, which lies at the heart of N Concourse.


  • Iconic building design evokes movement of a naturally meandering river
  • 20 gates (8 new and 12 remodeled)
  • Ten new installations of museum-quality art, featuring local and nationally-acclaimed artists. Pieces reflect the Pacific Northwest’s diverse environment, culture, spirit, people and history
  • Triple the amount of dining and retail with offerings that include Tundra Taqueria, SEA Roast Coffee House, Pike & Pine, Filson and Wendy’s (latter two open December 2021) with more set to open in 2022
  • Plugin at every single gate seat
  • Toilets use rainwater captured from the roof. This will save 2.8 million gallons of potable water annually, equal to 4.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools
  • 76-percent—or 20,000 tons—of construction waste was recycled and thereby diverted from landfills
  • Utilization of nearly $21M of recycled materials on the project
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting, heating, and cooling methods save approximately 1.7 million kWh annually, which is equal to the annual energy usage of 170 homes
  • Out of 1.8 million labor hours expended on the project, minorities performed more than 25-percent (462,000 hours). Apprentices performed over 20-percent (415,000 hours)
  • Over 20-percent, or $100M, of construction was spent with small business enterprises. $16.5M of that went to minority- or women-owned businesses.

Airport of the Future 2021

Global Student Competition Shortlist Announced

Fentress Architects is excited to announce the ten shortlisted entries 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, FAIA, RIBA 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)—and a yet undeveloped site—such as in Atafu, Tokelau or Canillo, Andorra.

Entrants explored various modes of transport, including pods for intra-airport transport. Other methods of inter-airport transport proposed included mag-lev cars, drones, hyperloops, hydrofoils, and air-rails. Additionally, several different types of aircraft were studied including anti-gravity, vertical take off, rockets, and spaceships.

Entries were evaluated based upon five criteria, including technology and sustainability. Some submssions specifically envisoned 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. Many also incorporated gardens, greenhouses, photovoltaic cells, and wind. Artificial intelligence helped enhance several of functions and addressed issues such as COVID-19 and terrorism. Furthermore, 3D printing and modular structures were two of several new building techniques explored.

The 2021 Shortlist

  • AJQ GROUP – Qian Yu, Alexandra Terekhova, Joseph Cook – University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria
  • Urban Travelator – Dinel Meyepa – Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Astra – Jonathan Liang, Martin He – Columbia University, New York City, USA
  • Decentralized Airport – Tam Dinh – University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Ferreras + Osiberu – Carmina Ferreras, Oluwarotimi Osiberu – North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  • Adaptive Antifragile – Gee Yang Tan – Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore
  • The Future Cell – Assem Attia – UACEG, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • AILY – Liyang Wang – Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  • Synergistic Airport – Baoqi Xiao – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • The Heathrow Hive – Jack Hastie – University Collge London, UK

A jury of renowned airport architects, directors, planners, and scholars will judge the shortlist virtually. Winners will be announced December 1, 2021. First, Second, and Third Place will recieve a total of $20,000 USD in cash prizes. Additionally, two People’s Choice Awards will be given, which carry a $1,000 USD cash prize, Voting for People’s Choice has already begun on the Fentress Architects Facebook Page at

AIA Western Mountain Region Recognizes Fentress Architects

25-Year Award for Denver International Airport’s Passenger Terminal Complex and the Special Recognition Award for Miami Beach Convention Center

The 2021 American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Western Mountain Region (WMR) Design Awards were presented last Thursday, October 1 at the annual AIA WMR Summit, which was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

­2021 AIA Western Mountain Region Twenty-Five Year Award: Denver International Airport (DEN) Passenger Terminal

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Western Mountain Region selected the Denver International Airport (DEN) Passenger Terminal as the recipient of the 2021 Twenty-Five Year Award. As one of the most prestigious honors for Colorado’s built environment, the award is presented annually to a project that has “significantly influenced design and lifestyle in Colorado” and features a “timeless and enduring design that has created a sense of place” for at least 25 years.

“Our vision for DEN’s Passenger Terminal was to create a memorable design—a gateway to Colorado and the West,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects. “Twenty five years later, the design continues to transcend time and is known around the world. I would like to thank AIA Colorado Honor Awards Jury, the entire project team, and my former partner Jim Bradburn.”

Completed in 1995, Fentress’ design for DEN’s Jeppesen Terminal stimulated a paradigm shift in the way architects and the public perceive airport design. Previously, airports were conceived as ‘people processors’—nondescript warehouses comprised of low ceilings and dim lighting. Fentress sought to change this notion by creating an airport that serves as a symbol of Denver and a gateway welcoming all to Colorado and the West; architecture as memorable as it is functional.

To create a significant airport, the terminal’s design embodies forms and materials native to the Rocky Mountain region. Peaked roof forms rise 130 to 150 feet, evoking a sense that one has stepped onto the snowcapped mountains that inspired the building’s architecture. This context-driven design marks the first time an airport became a timeless icon of a region through expressive forms.  It inspired the architecture of hundreds of airports worldwide.

2021 AIA Western Mountain Region Special Recognition Award: Miami Beach Convention Center

Miami Beach Convention Center won the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Special Recognition Award for 2021. Located in the heart of the city, the 1950’s-era Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) needed a transformation befitting its reputation as a world-class entertainment destination.  The venue has become renown for hosting preeminent annual events including Art Basel and eMERGE Americas. The Fentress team, together with Arquitectonica, mined the surrounding culture and context to create a design that is quintessentially South Florida, and has become a contextual representation of the city.

One of the greatest challenges was harmonizing the 1.4-million-square-foot, grand scale building with the intimacy of human scale to create flexible, intuitive, and daylit spaces. Inspired by undulating ocean waves, exterior façade “fins”—angled aluminum linear forms—filter light to create a dappled effect within the building’s daylit lobbies and pre-function spaces.  This provides visitors with a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor environments. Contextual inspiration was brought inside with colors and patterns that emulate receding water, sea foam, and local coral reef patterns.

Denver Art Museum to Unveil Reimagined Campus on October 24

DENVER, CO—The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will reopen its expanded and reimagined campus to the public with a free general admission day on October 24, 2021, unveiling all eight levels of its iconic Gio Ponti-designed Lanny and Sharon Martin Building (formerly referred to as the North or Ponti Building), which originally opened to the public 50 years ago, and the new Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center. Part of an overall campus reunification and building renovation project designed by Machado Silvetti and Fentress Architects, the campus reopening coincides with the Martin Building’s 50th anniversary.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our community into new, dynamic spaces this fall, to explore art, world cultures and their own creativity,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM.  “For more than three years, the north side of our campus has been undergoing a bold transformation to improve the visitor experience while honoring and preserving the building’s historic architecture. The events of the past year have reaffirmed the importance of art as a source of inspiration, healing and hope, and we look forward to showcasing the museum’s global collections through a new lens and providing new spaces for learning and engagement with the reopening of the full campus.”

The Martin Building has been fully restored and renovated throughout, which includes realizing Ponti’s original vision for the 7th floor, expanding gallery space and offering visitor access to stunning city and mountain views.  The transformed Martin Building will showcase the museum’s encyclopedic collections from around the world and throughout history, while putting its nationally recognized educational programming at the center of the campus.

This October will also mark the opening of the museum’s new Sie Welcome Center, which connects the Hamilton and Martin buildings, and was designed by Machado Silvetti and Fentress Architects, with a nod to Gio Ponti’s original vision. The new building, crowned by an elliptical glass event and program space, visually connects the campus, creating improved spaces for ticketing and guest services, as well as two new dining options. The lower level houses a purpose-built art conservation and technical studies laboratory. 

Inside the Martin Building, the new Jana & Fred Bartlit Learning & Engagement Center accommodates engagement for all ages, including space for student and community exhibitions, outdoor terraces, school and group reception, adult and youth classes, and artist interactions. These dynamic interactive spaces were designed by Mexico City-based design team Esrawe + Cadena with an eye toward playful, creative and inspired flexible spaces for varied programming.

As part of the transformation of the Martin Building, the collection galleries have been updated and reconceived with a commitment to telling more inclusive stories, including bringing in more contemporary artist and community voices to provide increased societal and historical contexts. Collection galleries housed in the Martin Building include new Design galleries and a reimagined Northwest Coast and Alaska Native gallery on level 2; reconceived Indigenous Arts of North America galleries on level 3; a new vision for Latin American Art and Art of the Ancient Americas galleries on level 4; newly installed Asian Art galleries on level 5; new European Art Before 1800 galleries, Textile Art and Fashion galleries and Photography galleries on level 6; and new and expanded Western American Art galleries on level 7, marking the first time that the DAM’s renowned Western collection has been presented in one space. Upon the opening of the Martin Building and Sie Welcome Center, the entire museum campus will also include bilingual art labels in English and Spanish.

Reclaiming space that was utilized as art storage for the last decade, the new Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Gallery, a 6,500-square-foot renovated gallery on level 1 in the Martin Building, will feature special exhibitions drawn primarily from the DAM’s collections. This space will open with the thematic exhibition ReVisión: Art in the Americas, which brings together works from the museum’s internationally acclaimed Latin American and Art of the Ancient Americas collections. From ancient artifacts to contemporary painting and sculpture, the exhibition places 180 works in dialogue to tell a fuller story of the region’s cultural heritage with gallery design by IKD of Boston and San Francisco. ReVisión: Art in the Americas and all Martin Building galleries opening in October will be included in general museum admission.

The Martin Building is named in honor of Denver Art Museum Board Chairman Lanny Martin and his wife Sharon Martin, who made the lead gift of $25 million for the $150 million construction and renovation project. City voters approved the Elevate Denver Bonds in 2017, which provided $35.5 million for crucial safety and infrastructure upgrades. The museum has matched public investment dollars with privately raised funds at a three-to-one ratio.

“This campus transformation ensures that the Denver Art Museum continues to serve as a beacon of creativity for the widest possible audience for decades to come,” said Lanny Martin, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “We are incredibly grateful for the support of all of the project’s donors, Elevate Denver Bond supporters and the greater cultural community, whose generosity ensures that the museum’s iconic campus will be a Denver destination for audiences of all ages.”

Since the opening of the Hamilton Building in 2006, the museum has served as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the surrounding Golden Triangle Creative District. Over the past decade, three adjacent museums have made their home in the neighborhood, creating a downtown cultural hub: the Clyfford Still Museum (2011); History Colorado Center (2012); and the relocated Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Arts (2018). At the same time, the Golden Triangle has continued to develop new residential and commercial properties as well as independent art galleries, restaurants and retail, creating a highly trafficked, walkable neighborhood with arts and culture at its core.

Martin Building + Sie Welcome Center Design

Designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti and Denver-based James Sudler Associates, the Martin Building opened in 1971. Its seven-story silhouette is one of the first-ever high-rise art museums and is the only completed building in North America by the renowned Italian modernist Gio Ponti.

The building’s renovation and upgrades were designed by Machado Silvetti and Fentress Architects, and constructed by Saunders Construction, Inc. The work includes the addition of 33,328 square feet of new gallery and public space, fulfilling Ponti’s original vision for visitor access to stunning 7th-floor views; the addition of skylights that reveal new angles of the building’s design; and exterior improvements such as lighting and revitalization of the glass tiles on the building’s façade. The renovation also includes updating environmental and other key systems with the latest technology. The completed project received LEED Silver certification. Infrastructure and safety upgrades include a new elevator core, which adds two additional elevators and a transparent public staircase for improved visitor flow, along with updated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, new windows, new flooring and new exterior wall insulation.

The 50,000-square-foot Sie Welcome Center’s second story façade is comprised of a series of 25-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide curved structural glass panels with insulated glazing—an unprecedented feat of engineering and the first building to use curved panels in this way. The welcome center serves as an entry point and a destination for visitors and seamlessly connects all aspects of the museum campus.

“The Martin Building is a treasured work in the Denver Art Museum’s collection, and the chance to celebrate Gio Ponti’s legacy and realize elements of his design through its renovation and restoration was a thrill for our team,” said Jorge Silvetti, Principal at Machado Silvetti. “To create the new Sie Welcome Center in the architecturally rich context of Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District, it was critical for us to design a structure that was simultaneously in dialogue with the vibrant visual language of Ponti and Studio Libeskind’s designs, while also providing connection to the museum. With its elliptical shape that is approachable from all angles, and transparent glass façade, the Sie Welcome Center is an inviting and glowing beacon to greet all visitors.”

Opening Events

A series of opening events will accompany the opening of the new Martin Building to celebrate the completed campus and thank the community for their support. An Opening Day celebration will take place on Sunday, Oct. 24. The all-day celebration will include free admission to all, as well as creative activities and moments for visitors of all ages. More details to be announced closer to opening day.

Museum members will have the opportunity for a pre-opening experience. Members-only previews will take place on Oct. 21, 22 and 23. The Martin Building, Sie Welcome Center and both The Ponti and Café Gio will be open to all members those days. Details and booking information will be sent to members directly. Information on becoming a museum member or renewing a membership is available here.

On the evening of Friday, October 15, is the museum’s Unveiled Opening Gala. This ticketed fundraising event will gather artists, patrons and trustees on a night unlike any other. Cocktail hour and dinner in the spectacular new Sturm Grand Pavilion will be included with the inspiring and unexpected program. Proceeds will support ongoing museum programming. See the museum website for more information on Unveiled.