Curtis Worth Fentress, FAIA, RIBA

Principal in Charge of Design

About Curtis

Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA was born to a sharecropping family living on a tobacco farm “between two wide spots in the road – Summerfield and Oakridge” in North Carolina. In high school, he immediately gravitated to drafting and engineering, and hard work enabled him to attend the School of Architecture at North Carolina State, where he graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Architecture degree.

After leaving a position with I.M. Pei, Fentress pursued his fascination with large-scale public projects and strove to make civic buildings more humanistic. Fentress came to Denver in the late 1970s for the New York-based firm Kohn Pedersen Fox to design the Rocky Mountain headquarters of Amoco. Drawn by Colorado’s beauty, Fentress founded his own firm in 1980 and later was awarded the opportunity to design Denver International Airport. His iconic peaked-roof design — voted “Best Airport in North America” and fourth “Favorite American Architecture” — propelled him into the international realm.

Fentress designed the Incheon International Airport in South Korea, voted the “World’s Best Airport by Skytrax’s World Airport Awards in 2009 based on comments from almost 9 million airline passengers in 2008-2009. Incheon also has been voted World’s Best Airport four consecutive years by 200,000 world travelers polled by Airports Council International. He is also known for the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Greater Washington, D.C., which has won 20 awards for innovation and excellence since its opening just over two years ago.

Fentress is known for his “Patient Search,” a meticulous discovery process that he and his design team follow.

Some architects have a preconceived notion of what a building should be — they design from the outside like the building is a piece of sculpture. I prefer to patiently search through extensive discovery until I find a seam somewhere, crack it open and discover the art inside. – Curtis Worth Fentress, FAIA