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Students around the globe were invited to advance the concept of what an international airport terminal might be in the year 2050.

1ST PLACE AIRPORT UNDER THE FOREST PARK (Shanghai, China)Xingqiao Li, Fang Yu and Que Wang Xi’AnUniversity of Architecture and Technology, Xi’An, China URBANIZATION OF THE PLANET

With the rapid development and urbanization of the planet, reinforced concrete and other harsh materials are taking over our landscapes and devouring the green lifeline of cities the world over. Our design departs from the urban forest as the breakthrough point from which to design the airport with an environmental perspective.

Using the underground space to realize the function of the layered design, we introduce mechanical technologies such as aircraft elevators, mechanical tracks, and booster runways. We also design central lighting barrels to bring underground climatic elements and sunshine to improve the passenger experience.

2ND PLACE HONG KONG AEROCENOSIS (Hong Kong)Anna Andronova Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering, Kazan, Russia


Transportation defines a city, its scale and structure, guides its inner rhythm as well as global economic prosperity. Today, our world faces dramatic transportation changes. New types of vehicles appear, introducing new approaches to delivering, travelling and commuting: quadrocopters, drones, hoverbikes, magnet levitation rails or hyperloops.

In order to organize an efficient transportation system in the perpetual motion age, a totally different, inside-out infrastructure must be built. It is aerocenosis - a hybrid, planned ecosystem of biotic and abiotic species coexisting in the sky. There is no particular airport, but rather ubiquitous transportation system, like “blood vessels”, which includes habitat, trading, production and recreation hubs. Citizens enjoy flat-to-flat flights and instant delivery services while mobile devices literally convert all infrastructures in a pocket. If such urban aerial infrastructure ever appears, it will occur in Hong Kong, a “city without ground” with its extreme population density and high-rise landscape, rich topography and giant tropical forests, technological innovations potential and total economic dependence on trade routes. Drone highway twists through Hong Kong from current Chek Lap Kok to former Kai Tak Airport, connecting its key points not only physically, but also symbolically.

3RD PLACECARAVANSERAI (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)Rafat JahandidehManchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom


Dubai's Caravanserai in the Arabian Gulf seeks to provide a major international transport hub connecting the region to the rest of the world. It builds on the prospects of a modern, internationally integrated country while diversifying the economic output of the region and promoting its long-term sustainable growth. Elaborating on its core concept of a merged sea-and-airport, Caravanserai provides a coherent and efficient convergence of both international and regional transport systems.

The massing's broad form follows the coastline and stretches out along the peninsula. Inside, the multi-nucleated terminal clusters reduce fatigue, via independent operation of all stages of passenger processing. Their layout is inspired by the architecture of the Middle Eastern ‘Caravanserai’, whose traditional form incorporated a courtyard space kept cool with a pool of water at its center, and tall walls around the perimeter to contain the heavier, cooler air.

Each terminal cluster features six windcatchers channeling warm dry air downwards over an underground network of canals, which provide a transport route through the building. The cooled and humidified air is delivered to the terminal clusters and the 'seawater greenhouses' that interconnect them - nurseries where date palms are nurtured before replanting to enrich and enhance the surrounding landscape.


PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, DESTINATION CDG Michel Ghostine and Christian GhanemUniversité Saint-Esprit de Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon

In the future, airports won’t just be an isolated area but, an Attraction, a destination and urban actor. Since they are entry points to a City or country, they have a solid energetical and social relation with their entourage. For sustainable, ecological and economic reasons, airports are more likely to be transformed, altered or extended. The solution lies in reinventing the philosophy of their spaces. From a reserved space to an open space; from a place detached form the city to a part of the city.

CDG is no different than contemporary airports: unoptimized, lacking links, human-based access procedures, high consumption equipment, and disconnection from the neighboring city. CDG is to be made a prototype for future airports by modifying the access logic, transforming the desolated spaces, and channeling energy and human flow toward and from the city and through terminals’ “spine”.


The entries were evaluated on five criteria—creative approach and presentation; response to site; sustainability and resiliency; functionality; and innovation and technology—by a a jury of renowned professionals in the field of aviation, which included:

Dave Gilmore, DesignIntelligence

Donald Albrecht, Museum of the City of New York

Curt Fentress, Fentress Architects

Lukas Feireiss, Studio Lukas Feireiss

Andrew Vasey, Vasey Aviation Group

Agatha Kessler, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 

Tobias Nolte, Certain Measures

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