Five Visions of the Airport of The Future Offer a New Challenge for the Industry

From a sky-scraping trophy to off-the-ground runways, the 2019 Fentress Global Challenge winners reimagined the air travel experience in daring ways.

The winning entry by Daoru Wang/Courtesy Fentress Architects

For its seventh Global Challenge competition, Fentress Architects received proposals for the airport of 2075 from more than 500 students from over 50 countries. In the end, the selection of winners offered a strong and unexpected message about where the air travel industry could, and perhaps should, be by the end of the century.

Second place by Samantha Pires/Courtesy Fentress Architects

Christopher Johnson of the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, won third place and $2,000 with a plan to turn London’s Heathrow into a full-fledged, multicultural urban community “within the existing landmass.” Second honors and $3,000 went to Samantha Pires of the New Jersey Institute of Technology for her proposed reinterpretation of Newark Airport as an aerotropolis, “a place for community engagement, job opportunities and a catalyst for neighborhood development.” Top prize and $10,000 was given to Daoru Wang and the “Infinity Airport,” the result of Wang’s meticulous study of aircraft traffic flow and field circulation. The name comes from the design itself: a torus-knot, high-rise collision of two infinity symbols that looks like a trophy in the sky.

Third place by Christopher Johnson/Courtesy Fentress Architects

This year’s competition also featured the Fentress’s People’s Choice Awards, held via the firm’s Facebook page. Coming in first and taking home $1,000 were Chai Yi Yang and Ng Yi Ming, from the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur for their plan to turn Hong Kong International Airport into a decentralized network of elevated terminals and runways by integrating Hyperloop-like tubes and capsules. The project garnered over 2,800 votes. Riki Rozenberg, Evelyn Kreslavsky, and Mai Whiteson from Tel Aviv University planned Chicago O’Hare and earned second place with 2,500 votes.

People’s Choice Awards winner by Chai Yi Yang and Ng Yi Ming/Courtesy Fentress Architects

Interestingly, with the exception of “Infinity Airport,” all of the five winning designs explicitly endorsed integrating the cultures and economies of the airports and the local surrounding communities—something rarely seen in this day and age. The message was clear: the future would be best spent together.  

People's Choice Award second place by Riki Rozenberg, Evelyn Kreslavsky, and Mai Whiteson/Courtesy Fentress Architects
All Stories