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Despite a multitude of technological advances including video conferencing and drones, the proliferation of airports worldwide continues to be spurred on by global commerce and an unrelenting demand for travel.

While the airport terminal—conceived a century ago—is a relatively new architectural typology, it has since its inception held equal importance with quintessential civic buildings: city halls, courthouses, libraries, museums, and theaters.  Yet, airports are uniquely complex and they are more than just high volume transportation hubs.  Increasingly, airports are also workplaces, centers of commerce, recreational outlets, and cultural resources. 

Fentress Global Challenge (FGC) is an annual international student design competition.  Since its inception in 2011, thousands of entries from over 100 countries have competed for top honors.  FGC represents an extraordinary exploration into the future of architecture, and in so doing, continues to advance the pursuit of innovative design in public architecture.  


FGC is open to graduate and undergraduate students currently pursuing architecture or engineering degrees in an accredited university program, as well as recent graduates (within the last four years) with a degree in architecture or engineering. Current students must provide proof of active enrollment status: a scanned copy of their student ID and current course schedule. Recent graduates must provide a scanned copy of their diploma.


Participants in the Fentress Global Challenge are allowed to go solo or team up with a maximum of three team members. In the case of team submissions, awards will be split between team members. Participants are encouraged to choose the collaboration format that best aligns with their vision and design goals.


FGC participants are challenged to envision a terminal building for the year 2100. Concepts must:

I.      Create a new airport terminal concept.  Entrants are encouraged to utilize forecasts for population, environmental conditions, modes of travel, and potential destinations in the creation of their concept.     

II.     Employ Fentress’ Touchstone 2: Use Context to Create Identity. “Context is more than an intellectual consideration of the history or physical appearance of a neighborhood, city, or state, and it’s more than the way new will live with old. Context draws on the senses, the sights, smells and memories that define a place and make it unique. Context grows from community, and people respond to it.” For more on Fentress’ Eight Touchstones of Design: 

III.    Improve upon at least one primary factor influencing airport terminal building design in 2100.  Entrants are encouraged to make projections about the factors that will most influence airport architecture in the future.  Examples of factors include mobility, urbanization, globalization, technology, flexibility, security, project feasibility, and passenger experience. 

IV.   Achieve sustainability and resiliency.  Sustainable design is the creation of places that are environmentally responsible, healthy, equitable, and profitable. Resilient designs are capable of adapting to changing conditions and maintain or regain functionality in the face of natural and manmade disasters. 

V.     Choose one of two site selection options:

Option 1: Establish the new terminal at an existing airport that requires expansion. Participants have the flexibility to select any airport of their choice, such as:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)

  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)

  • Beijing Capital International (PEK)

  • Los Angeles International (LAX)

  • Dubai International (DXB)

  • Tokyo International (Haneda) (HND)

  • Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)

  • London Heathrow (LHR)

  • Shanghai Pudong International (PVG)

  • Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG)

  • Dallas/Forth Worth International (DFW)

  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)

  • Incheon International (ICN)

Option 2: Site the new terminal at a location of your choice where an airport does not yet exist. Participants should consider sites where an airport could serve as a catalyst for economic and social development.



Use clear, concise language to convey ideas, key points, and design solutions. Photographs, diagrams, renderings, animations, collages or other visualizations are encouraged to help explain the concept, respecting the guidelines previously described. Please label drawings.



The design approach is innovative and inspiring. Both the concept and design solution are presented through unique and compelling graphics.



The design honors the physical attributes of the site’s context and culture. The overall design strategy matches the global and local demographic requirements of the location. Again, use context to create identity.



The design minimizes negative impacts to the wellbeing of humans and the natural environment. The overall design strategy also responds to vulnerabilities including natural and manmade disasters.



The planning and building organization is clear and appropriate. The design solution contains a defined and well- articulated structural, technical, and constructible rationale.



Innovation in the terminal’s design should align with future perspectives in aviation and technology. The design should incorporate forward-looking innovations that improve the entire passenger experience, including efficiency, comfort, safety, health/wellbeing, sustainability, value, and entertainment/amenities.


1ST PLACE                                                US$10,000

2ND PLACE                                              US$3,000

3RD PLACE                                               US$2,000

2 PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS              US$1,000


Competition Announcement:                 November, 2023

Design Submission Deadline:                 October 1, 2024

Shortlist Announcement:                         November 1, 2024

Winners Announcement:                         December 1, 2024


Participants must register and upload competition materials to their profile page at no later than October 1, 2024 (23:00 GMT).  Guidelines for the submission:

Mandatory Formatting:

•       Official language is English

•       Official system of measurements is United States customary units 

•       File must be saved as a PDF and named as follows: “2023_(team name)_(design concept name).pdf”

•       File must contain no more than eight (8) single-sided, 11-inch x 17-inch, landscape-oriented

•       File size must not exceed 100MB

Mandatory Content:

•       Title of design concept

•       Description of design concept (400-700-word maximum)

•       Description of entrant (team or individual)

•       Supporting images to include diagrams, plans, sections, and/or perspectives

•       In a separate PDF, include photocopies of all student IDs (or other proof of school registration)

Plagiarism and cheating will result in disqualification. 


FGC will be judged in two stages.  A first-round jury of distinguished experts will shortlist designs from which a second-round jury will select the three finalists.  Members of the jury—to be announced at a later date—will include airport directors, futurists, sustainability and resiliency experts, airport architects, and Fentress Fellows. 

All shortlisted entries will also be eligible for the People’s Choice Award, which will be judged on Fentress Architects’ Facebook page. The two submissions receiving the most “likes” will win a prize of US$1,000 each.


Acceptance of Terms: By participating in the Fentress Global Challenge, participants agree to abide by the following rules and regulations, along with all other terms related to the competition.

Entry Submission: 1. No changes are permitted to an entry after submission, except with explicit approval from Fentress Architects.

Intellectual Property: 2. Participants affirm that all materials submitted are their original work and do not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any third party. Fentress Architects is not liable for any infringement, and participants indemnify Fentress Architects against third-party claims.

Usage Rights: 3. Participants grant Fentress Architects and competition sponsors non-exclusive reproduction rights for advertising, promotion, exhibition, print publication, and internet purposes related to the competition. Fentress Architects is not responsible for unauthorized use by third parties.

Media Approval: 4. All published and online media, related to the Fentress Global Challenge must be reviewed and approved by Fentress Architects.  

Prize Terms: 5. Winners may not transfer, assign, or substitute prizes. 

Personal Data Processing: 6. Entrants acknowledge that personal data may be processed, shared, and used for contest-related purposes. Participants can access, review, rectify, or cancel personal data by contacting Fentress Architects.

Validation and Disqualification: 7. Fentress Architects has the right to verify the validity and originality of entries and entrants, disqualifying any entry not in accordance with the rules. Failure to enforce rights at any stage does not waive those rights.

Rule Changes: 8. Fentress Global Challenge rules and regulations are subject to change without notice.

Contest Integrity: 9. If the contest is disrupted due to factors beyond Fentress Architects' control, including computer viruses, tampering, or technical failures, Fentress Architects may disqualify individuals tampering with the process or modify, cancel, terminate, or suspend the contest.

Online Voting 10: In order to maintain fair competition, the use of click farms on peoples choice voting platforms is strictly prohibited.

Legal Jurisdiction: 11. Any claims related to participation in the competition must be brought in Denver, Colorado, USA, and will be governed by the laws of the State of Colorado. The contest is void where prohibited. 

Participants are encouraged to carefully review these rules and regulations to ensure compliance with the terms of the Fentress Global Challenge.


Click Here the link below to sign up and upload your submission to the Fentress Global Challenge 2024

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