The Future of Airports as Civic Spaces: 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

The European Cultural Centre and Global Art Affairs Foundation invited Fentress Architects and North Carolina State University College of Design to participate in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale May 26-November 25, 2018, at the historic Palazzo Bembo.

Architecture students from North Carolina State University College of Design will join Fentress at the Palazzo Bembo to present their designs for airports of the future. Fentress has been guiding students in preparation for the exhibition, which allows 11 students to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Italy for the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Their designs will be featured in the “Time Space Existence” exhibit, offering the public a glimpse at the future of airport design. The students are participating in an Airport Design course with Principal in Charge of Design Curt Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, and Alumni Distinguished Professor of Architecture Wayne Place, Ph.D. that focuses on designing airports that reflect the context and culture of their location.

Fentress helped create the NC State University College of Design airport design studio in 2013. The studio focuses on airports as a building type that establishes civic spaces. Students are challenged to design airports for various locations around the world. As part of this process, student design teams research the culture, climate, and terrain of their chosen location. By the end of the course, students know how to implement flexible design strategies to create world-class airports that reflect a sense of place.

Curt Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, is an alumnus and valuable supporter of the College of Design. “It’s very exciting to see how these architectural minds are transforming the future of airport design,” says Curt Fentress. Graduate student Cameron Westbrook, who is currently participating in the studio, says, “It’s been a good experience to work with Fentress Architects. It’s been eye-opening because there’s so much technology and so much planning to incorporate within the early stages of designing an airport. It can be overwhelming, but it also puts us in a position to want to know more. They [Fentress] are also very encouraging.”

Invited by the European Cultural Centre and Global Art Affairs Foundation, Fentress Architects will return to the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture to present Now Boarding – Fentress Architects: Airports as Civic Spaces. Fentress made its debut at the Biennale in 2016 with its Now Boarding exhibition, celebrating the past, present, and future of airport design. This year the firm’s exhibition will feature airports as civic spaces, showcasing the concept of humanism flowing through airports. Through the use of film, photographs, and models, the exhibition showcases the transformation of the passenger experience in contemporary airport design. The concept of airports as civic spaces is explored through Fentress designs for five airport terminals:

  • South Terminal Complex at Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Incheon International Airport (ICN)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

About the Biennale

The Venice Biennale is one of the most prestigious international cultural events in the world. By inviting the world’s leading design thinkers, visionaries, and makers, the Biennale consistently cultivates a progressive voice that inspires, advocates, and connects a global audience. The Biennale and associated exhibitions are hosted throughout the island of Venice, imbuing the city’s historic past as an international center for arts and culture with modern significance, while maintaining Venice’s status as a premier destination. All told, over a quarter million people visited the last Architecture Biennale, with millions more accessing the exhibition via press and other media.

About Palazzo Bembo

Now Boarding – Fentress Architects: Airports as Civic Spaces and the College of Design exhibition will be featured at the historic Palazzo Bembo, overlooking the Grand Canal and just steps from the centrally-located Rialto Bridge. The Palazzo was built by the noble Bembo family in the 15th century, and its architectural style reflects the Venetian influences of its original period and those from subsequent restorations. Among the ancient families of Venetian aristocracy, the Bembo lineage includes saints, leaders, heroes, and writers. The Bembo font, a popular serif typeface, traces its origins to the family.

About the North Carolina State College of Design

The NC State College of Design prepares students for a career in design through interdisciplinary engagement, innovative exploration of technologies, and a core foundation of design thinking and practice. The College of Design offers undergraduate, graduate, Doctor of Design [DDes], and Ph.D. in design degrees and currently has 850 enrolled students. NC State University is a leading public research university located in Raleigh, North Carolina. In response to an ever-expanding global interest in all disciplines of design, the College’s curriculum incorporates relevant practices reflecting both the University’s research, its number one status in the state, and its land-grant mission. Effective design requires attention and sensitivity to the social, economic, political, cultural, and behavioral understanding of the environment and people. Our graduate and undergraduate programs in Architecture, Art + Design, Design Studies, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, and Landscape Architecture are intended to de­velop a designer’s perception, knowledge, skills, and problem-solving abilities to develop design solutions for public interest, to serve the needs of all users, and to impact the myriad of sustainability and life-quality problems across the globe. design.ncsu.edu