Future of travel: architects designing the airports of future

  • The coronavirus pandemic is encouraging architects to imagine the airports of the future as the downturn is opening new opportunities for the industry. 
  • Fentress Architects held a contest among university students to design next-generation airports while Gensler designed an open-concept alternative to the iconic Washington Dulles International Airport terminal. 
  • Individuality is a key tenet with private pods and high-speed transportation modes shuttling passengers to and from airports while simultaneously performing security checks. 
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The coronavirus pandemic has presented the aviation industry with an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine how travelers take to the skies, starting with the airport experience. 

A large reduction in daily passenger numbers has given airports an abundance of time and space to implement new temporary safety features, but the fact remains that airports weren’t built to handle a pandemic. 

Architecture firms Gensler and Fentress Architects are using the downturn in travel to envision what future airports may look like. Gensler recently took up a challenge by Washington Magazine to redesign local public areas while Fentress Architects turned to university students to design the airports of 2100 as part of this year’s Fentress Global Challenge. 

Airport planning is already shifting towards built-in resilience to global health crises, even if it’s too late to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, and airports of the future will need to address the possibility of another pandemic. New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport both opened new terminals during the pandemic that came complete with plexiglass partitions, hundreds of hand sanitizer stations, and social distancing reminders. 

Take a look at what the future of airports might entail as transportation hubs cope with new safety demands from the public in a pandemic-stricken world. 

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