13 Futuristic Airport Designs

What should airports of the future look like? Here are some proposals.
Christopher McFadden

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 is a very futuristic airport design

futuristic airports pulkovo
Source: Bestalex/Wikimedia Commons

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 on the outside to evenly distribute the weight during heavy snowfalls.

2. SFO FAA Airport Traffic Control, San Fransisco is another interesting airport design

futuristic airport design SFO FAA
Source: flysfo

The new 220 ft (67 mt) tall air traffic control tower looks like something out of this world. It contains 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!

3. Incheon International Airport, South Korea is another amazing airport

futuristic airport incheon
Source: Cafe Nervosa/Wikimedia Commons

The brief from the Incheon Airport Management was to provide a single terminal that could accommodate 72 gates inside a 160 acres (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 architect, 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 is also very futuristic

futuristic airports the rock
Source: Warren and Mahoney

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 Rock."

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5. Greenfield Airport, Lisbon has a very bold design

futuristic airports HOK
Source: HOK

HOK, who often works 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.

6. The London Britannia Airport concept really is very futuristic

futuristic airports London Britannia
Source: Gensler

Gensler is working on a number of futuristic airport designs for London. The design 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. This futuristic design for Denver International Airport is very striking

futuristic airports denver
Source: Gensler

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 is future proof

futuristic airports modular
Source: eVolo

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 a high thermal mass for heating and cooling. They are also semi-autonomous.

9. The new Kuwait International Airport's design is award-winning

futuristic airports kuwait
Source: Frank Carmi/YouTube

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 0.75 mile (1.2 km) 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 could be a vision of the future of airports

futuristic airports Beijing
Source: eVolo

Beijing is in dire need of a new airport, but it has a serious problem. It lacks large enough patches of free 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 1475 ft (450 mt) height of the structure. Nice.

 11. The "Drive-Thru" Airport is a very interesting concept

futuristic airports drive-thru
Source: Miklos Deri/Twitter

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 really is from the future

futuristic airport designs delta
Source: Oliver Andrews/YouTube

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 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.

13. The Self Sustaining Airport, Los Angeles is an interesting idea

futuristic airports self sustaining
Source: Archinect

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.