Incheon International Airport (ICN)

Incheon, Seoul, South Korea

Four historic gates in Seoul—the original entrances to the 2,000-year-old walled capital city—were Fentress' inspiration for this twenty-first century gateway to South Korea.

An international design competition jury unanimously selected Fentress Architects for Incheon International Airport’s Passenger Terminal Complex.

Fentress’ design is configured in the shape of an arc, a welcoming gesture for arriving passengers.  This form was inspired by both the aerodynamic shapes of airplanes and the rolling form of waves lapping the shore.  Meanwhile, the concourse’s roof design is a modern interpretation of a traditional Korean temple, a gentle catenary curve that makes much of Korean architecture.  The steel masts and cables that support the concourse roof structure reflect the profiles of ships in Incheon Bay and are also reflective of Korea’s steel industry.

The hub of the complex is the Great Hall, which serves as a central location for transportation facilities, passenger amenities, and airport operations. Fittingly, the Great Hall serves as an organizing element by enhancing pedestrian traffic flow patterns. Further enhancing their to easily comprehend and navigate the building are a materials palette that includes indigenous woods and granite, the incorporation of comfortable and abundant seating areas, and landscaping reminiscent of traditional Korean gardens.

In addition, abundant natural daylight, cultural offerings, upscale amenities, and high tech services provide a pleasant travel experience for passengers.

The winning design fully understands this new world-class hub airport will be the gateway to the Korea of the new age. Its efforts to draw harmony between Korean images and global design trends and technologies are outstanding. – International Design Competition, Jury Comments

Award-Winning Design

Incheon International Airport has received more than 40 honors, awards and citations including:

  • Most Beautiful Airports In The World, Top 22 List, Huffington Post, 2020
  • World’s Best Transit Airport, Skytrax World Airport Awards, 2019
  • World’s Best Airport, Top 10 List Skytrax World Airport Awards, 2013
  • World’s Best Airport, Skytrax World Airport Awards, 2012
  • World’s Most Beautiful Airports, Top 10 List, CNBC, 2011
  • Best International Airport, Executive Travel Magazine, 2010
  • World’s Most Beautiful Airports, Top 15 List, Travel + Leisure Magazine, 2010
  • Best Airport Worldwide, Airport Service Quality Awards, Airports Council International, 2009
  • Best Airport in the World, Business Traveler Magazine, 2009
  • Best Airport, Passenger Survey, CNN Travel Network, 2009
  • World’s Best Airport, Global Traveler Magazine, 2009
  • World’s Best Airport, Skytrax World Airport Awards, 2009
  • Best Airport in the World, Business Traveler Magazine, 2008
  • Best Airport in the World, Official Airport Guide, 2007
  • Honor Award, AIA Denver, 2001