The future is always looking bright, especially when it comes down to travel. With technology advancements, we’re seeing better and faster airplanes and massive airports that connect people from all over the world, to every inch of it. 

From concept airplanes and airports, to seats and gadgets—we are seeing an evolution of what travel can be. But sometimes, even the coolest technologies don’t make it any further than a computer graphic. So to pay tribute to some of those amazing designs, we’ve picked out some of our favorite airport concepts that we believe could be the next best thing, but may never come to life (at least not in our lifetime). 

Incheon International Airport

Icheon International Airport of the future
(Image source: Corgan & DMT Partners)

In 2011, Incheon International Airport had a design competition asking architects to come up with a new airport concept with only one terminal. The design had to have 72 gates, cover 7 million square feet, as well as integrate green building techniques, and be flexible enough to expand with demand. 

Corgan, and architectural firm, came up with an idea (pictured above) that was dynamic, and encompassed everything that was requested by the competition. The circular design creates a fluid flow of traffic coming in and out—both automotive and pedestrian. The elongated points could expand further for more airlines that would make this airport a major hub, and for travelers who can use it as a major connection stop to continue onto their final destination.

Although it’s an efficient and effective design, this concept may never come to life.

Thames Estuary Airport

Thames Estuary Airport Concept

(Image source: Vyonyx for Gensler)

London’s Heathrow International Airport continues to go through major improvements and expansions. One architectural firm, Gensler, came up with the idea of a completely new design for Heathrow, where the entire airport would float in the river. The concept is quite ambitious—something you would see in a Sci-Fi film, yet Gentler believed the river would be a great spot to expand the land needed for additional terminals and runways.

Gensler envisioned runways that could be easily moved for maintenance or expansion purposes. Moreover, the floating pieces would create power via marine turbines, offering sea life a place they can call home. Possible? Probably not anytime soon, but we can only hope for such technological advancements to make this happen.

AIR+PORT

Greenland Future Airport Design Concept
(Image source: DAC)

With the ice caps melting, Greenland may become a country filled with rich minerals that will in turn require a space where more ships and airplanes can land and dock to extract them. As a result, BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk designed an airport concept called AIR + PORT, that allows a constant flow of traffic in and out of the country. Pictured above is a genius example of what this could look like, which would also help cut costs for locals who want to travel but can’t due to high ticket costs. 

Even though it’s currently just a dream, AIR + PORT can be the right future for this small and secluded country.

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