2016 Airport of the Future

    The Fentress Global Challenge is an annual international competition created to engage students worldwide in the exploration of future design possibilities in public architecture.

    Shortlist Announced

    Click Here to see the shortlist announcement

    Unprecedented demand for travel and global commerce has resulted in the proliferation of airports around the world. In their short history, terminal buildings have been criticized for employing generic architectural forms that are unapologetically disconnected from their context and cultural identity. Technical complexity and functional design has often taken precedence over comfort and quality for users. 

    In less than a century, the airport has emerged as a new architectural typology that is as important as other large-scale public buildings such as museums, libraries, temples and courthouses. Airports are among the most complex and highly frequented transportation hubs, but they are also increasingly important places for work, commerce, recreation and culture. The rapid evolution of airports necessitates the incorporation of the latest developments in technology, design and social trends around the globe.

    Started in 2011, the Fentress Global Challenge is an annual international competition created to engage young architects in the exploration of future design possibilities in public architecture. For 2016, students are invited to envision “The Airport of the Future.” The winners will gain international exposure and receive cash prizes and a paid internship at Fentress Architects.

    To download the full competition brief, please click here. To register the competition, please click here.


    Participants are encouraged to re-envision the terminal building of the future, taking into consideration local context, current technological trends, project feasibility and passenger experience. In line with the speculative nature of the competition, participants should seek to improve every dimension of the airport terminal building. All entries should delve into one or more broad topics related to airport architecture and the future of aviation such as urbanization, globalization, technology, flexibility, security, and adaptability.

    Designs must be centered on one of the top 30 airports in the world according to Airport Council International (ACI):

    1      ATLANTA GA, US (ATL)
    2      BEIJING, CN (PEK)
    3      LONDON, GB (LHR)
    4      TOKYO, JP (HND)
    5      CHICAGO IL, US (ORD)
    6      LOS ANGELES CA, US (LAX)
    7      DUBAI, AE (DXB)
    8      PARIS, FR (CDG)
    10    JAKARTA, ID (CGK)
    11     HONG KONG, HK (HKG)
    12     FRANKFURT, DE (FRA)
    13     SINGAPORE, SG (SIN)
    14     AMSTERDAM, NL (AMS)
    15     DENVER CO, US (DEN)
    16     GUANGZHOU, CN (CAN)
    17     BANGKOK, TH (BKK)
    18     ISTANBUL, TR (IST)
    19     NEW YORK NY, US (JFK)
    20     KUALA LUMPUR, MY (KUL)
    21     SHANGHAI, CN (PVG)
    23     CHARLOTTE NC, US (CLT)
    24     INCHEON, KR (ICN)
    25     LAS VEGAS NV, US (LAS)
    26     MIAMI FL, US (MIA)
    27     PHOENIX AZ, US (PHX)
    28     HOUSTON TX, US (IAH)
    29     MADRID, ES (MAD)
    30     MUNICH, DE (MUC)


    1ST PLACE: $15,000
    The top prize includes US$5,000 cash, a four-week paid internship at Fentress Architects, airfare, lodging and certificate. Interns from outside the U.S. are responsible for obtaining necessary visa and paperwork. Fentress Architects will provide a supporting letter for visa purposes. Internship details will be arranged separately with the winner. If entering as a group, the prize will be distributed equally.

    2ND PLACE: $3,000
    US$3,000 cash prize and certificate

    3RD PLACE: $2,000
    US$2,000 cash prize and certificate

    US$1,000 cash prize and certificate


    The competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students who are currently pursuing architecture or engineering degrees at an accredited university program, as well as recent graduates (within the last four years) with a degree in architecture or engineering.

    Students must provide proof of active enrollment status. Registrants are required to provide a scanned copy of their student ID and current course schedule. Recent graduates must provide a scanned copy of their diploma.


    Competition Announcement             May 27, 2016
    Design Submission Deadline           October 1, 2016
    Shortlist Announcement                   November 1, 2016
    Winners Announcement                   Early 2017
    Internship at Fentress Architects      Summer 2017


    Participants must email their conceptual design to (email hidden; JavaScript is required) by the end of the day on October 1st, 2016 (23:00 GMT).

    The official language of the competition is English and metric is the official unit measurement.

    The design concept shall be submitted in PDF format and include:
    - Up to 8 pages in 11.5 x 17 format, landscape orientation
    - Large sans serif fonts that can be viewed on a projector (Arial or Helvetica)
    - A brief overall description of the design concept
    - Supporting diagrams, plans, sections and perspectives are encouraged
    - Digital file may be no larger than 20MB
    - Digital file must be named after the registration number,
    for example: FGC20150000.pdf
    - Entry must contain the unique registration number in the upper right corner of every page. 

    Names, affiliations or other forms of identification must NOT be used in the document. Entries with such designations will be deemed ineligible and will not be judged or displayed.

    In a separate PDF, please include student IDs of the group members.


    If you have further questions regarding the competition, the submission process, or the awards, please email (email hidden; JavaScript is required).