Modern airports tend to push the limits of architectural design, but the following 13 are something else. Here are 13 of the most ambitious futuristic airport designs we've ever seen.
The following are in no particular order and are far from exhaustive.
1. Pulkovo Airport, Russia
We'll kick off our list of futuristic airport designs with this beauty. The main terminal to this building will be the first thing the estimated 12 million visitors will see on arrival. Grimshaw Architects are the chaps behind the concept, and they are known for their aggressive designs.
The design revolves around the roof which is flat outside to evenly distribute the weight during heavy snow falls.
2. SFO FAA Airport Traffic Control, San Fransisco
The new 67 meters tall air traffic control tower looks like something out of this world. It does, of course, contain the usual controls and gadgets nestled within its crow's nest-like top. The design is such that the structure is flooded with natural light with other modern design flourishes.
The architects from Fentress wanted to provide a structure that would blend nicely with the city's main skyline. The building can also withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake, nice!
3. Incheon International Airport, South Korea
The brief from the Incheon Airport Mangement was to provide a single terminal that could accommodate 72 gates inside a 650,321 m2 structure. It also had to be future-proof and incorporate green technology as well as be flexible enough for future reconfiguration as the industry evolves.
The winning architects, Fentress, took up the challenge with vigor. Scheduled for completion by 2020, the design is certainly one of the more futuristic airports out there.
4. Rock Terminal, Wellington, New Zealand
Supposedly inspired by the rugged geography of the surrounding area the "Rock" Terminal of Wellington's International Airport is a great example of a futuristic airport. Completed in 2010, this terminal building has a unique style indeed.
It took five years to complete and is both a sculpture and transit building in one. The main feature is its steel-beam and copper roof, which gives it the affectionate name of the "The Rock".
5. Greenfield Airport, Lisbon
HOK, who often work with NASA, has been developing a new airport for Lisbon, Portugal for some years. They won an international competition to help bring 43 million passengers a year to Lisbon.
The proposal has an interesting cross shaped design for its runways.
[Image Source: HOK]
6. London Britannia Airport Concept
Gensler is working on a number of futuristic airport designs for London. The design, as you can see, is radically different from airports you might be used to.
It is, in fact, a floating airport sited right smack bang in the middle of the Thames Estuary. Nice work.
7. Denver International Airport
Originally designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava, the airport's budget was cut from $650 to $500 million. This forced Calatrava to abandon the project rather than shoe-horn his vision into the project.
The airport is now under the auspices of Gensler who have been behind the project since the beginning.
8. Modular Airport Concept, Queen Alia International Airport Jordan
All airports need to grow over time to react to increases in air traffic. This is an ongoing issue that many airports need to face at some point in their future. For Queen Alia International Airport, Foster and Partners Architect provided a neat proposal.
Their design is a modular building system that can be added to piece by piece over time. Each module is a concrete structure with high thermal mass for heating and cooling. They are also semi-autonomous.
[Image Source: eVolo]
9. Kuwait International Airport
We really hope the inspiration isn't those annoying fidget spinners! The airport's main terminal has a very futuristic look indeed with its three prong design. Each terminal wing is to be 1.2 km's long.
The windows are specially designed to take advantage of the vast amount of natural sunlight in the region whilst reducing the solar heat gain. The roof will also incorporate a massive solar panel array. The site is rumored to be the first LEED Gold-Accredited passenger airport in the world.
10. Skycrapper Airport, Beijing
Beijing is in dire need for a new airport, but it has a serious problem. It lacks large enough tracts of undeveloped land to build one. The eVolo winning solution, from 2012, solves both these problems in one fell swoop. By elevating an airport on top of massive mushroom-like structures, the city could get its new airport with very little "ground" being consumed.
It frees up space below and reduces the need for long runways since wind speeds are higher at the proposed 450-meter height of the structure. Nice.
[Image Source: eVolo]
11. Drive-Thru Airport
Why walk to the airplane when the plane can come to you? This would be a much more efficient solution as planes would "drive thru" the ground level under an elevated airport terminal.
This intriguing idea was proposed by Miklos Deri and it would reduce the number of gates needed, cut the airport's total footprint and speed up passenger processing. More speed means more flights per day.
12. LDN Delta Airport
Hot on the heels of the Britannica Design for the Thames Estuary is this competing floating design by Oliver Andrew. His vision is one of an artificial delta, literally, made of prefabricated, mass produced islands. It would be served by public transport only, so it would not need any parking.
The catch is, though, that the airport lacks runways and is intended for the sole use of vertical takeoff hypersonic jets. The airport will also be powered by tidal energy. Nice.
13. Self Sustaining Airport, Los Angeles
Here's a fantastic example of futuristic airport designs that imagines a self-sustaining airport for LA. The idea is that it will not only be used by airships but also be powered by algae grown from nearby farms.
[Image Source: Archinect]
So there you go 13 futuristic airport designs. Which ones would you include? Which one is your favorite? As always leave your comments below.