NOVEMBER 2-3, 2017

A symposium on the future of aviation and the architecture of international airports

The airport is one of the most prominent forms of contemporary public architecture. The intensity and frequency of their use has come to surpass almost all other contemporary building types, as society depends on their regular operation and growth. These transportation hubs are not only essential to the livelihood of cities and regions, but to the individual lifestyles of a globalized population. The airport of the future needs to be an attractive urban destination that appeals to both the frequent flyers and local population.

International airports face extraordinary pressure to increase performance and enhance visitor experience, while reducing environmental impact. Airport design requires the production of highly functional and adaptable spaces, which can withstand intense daily use and constant advances in technology and society. Airports must be environmentally, socially and economically progressive, while remaining attractive to the general public. 

In response to the surging appetite for global travel and the evolution of its complementary programs, aviation infrastructure is undergoing large-scale growth and refurbishment. Extensive renovations, expansions and the construction of brand new terminals demand an enormous amount of resources, but also offer extraordinary opportunities for value creation and innovation.

The Aerial Futures, Leading Edge Symposium invites thinkers, practitioners, and industry leaders to Los Angeles to share their work with a select group of international peers and a local audience. Hosted at the Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles, participants will take part in a two-day symposium with lectures and curated panels discussions, professional workshops, and intimate networking events. The program will be supported by guided site visits at the Los Angeles International Airport, to explore first hand the impact of aviation and travel trends on the airport of the future.


Points of discussion

Peripheral vision

Disruptive innovations in technology, business and society are set to revolutionize the relationship between airports and cities. Once considered disconnected by necessity, the airport of the future could reconnect to urban centers and their economies. The impact of innovation often goes unrealized until it turns an industry on its head. Stakeholders in aviation and urban development must work together to anticipate inevitable changes in the architecture of flight. Next generation autonomous devices, cutting edge ecological design and sharing economies promise to alter the airport landscape and shape its architectural contours. From zoning to parking, radical transformations lie in the immediate vicinity of airports.  


Let me entertain you

In its infancy, air travel offered spectacle and amusement. Now more than ever, airports play a powerful role in consumer and popular culture, not just for frequent yers. Digital media and spatial design offer a vast marketplace of information that can facilitate mobile commerce and enhance social interactions. The spectrum of data that permeates airport environments will only continue to expand. Architecture will need to incorporate and organize multi-sensory experiences that optimize way-finding and enjoyment. 


Defining the commons 

Since their inception as spaces for transit, airports have become important civic buildings, adopting signi cance in social, cultural and public life. Despite how accessible they may look or feel, airports follow carefully managed formulas of ownership and access. Architecture must develop methods for co-creating open and secure air terminal spaces. Airports have the potential to host a collaborative dialogue between public and private stakeholders, while adopting inventive platforms for participation and knowledge exchange. The unique role of airports as public spaces profoundly impact the development of policies, regulations and legal frameworks that determine the shifting business models for their operation. 


Future in the making 

Because of the unprecedented demands in size, performance, and construction constraints airports are perfect test beds for computational design, rapid prototyping and digital fabrication. Architecture is pioneering technologies that allow for greater sophistication in form finding, materiality and manufacturing efficiency. Ingenious ways of re-mastering old approaches to design and production are powerful vehicles for exploration and ground-breaking experimentation. From structures to materials, construction to operation, airport mega projects challenge designers to push the envelope in the production of highly complex buildings. 


    Thanks to the generous sponsorship of our donors, Aerial Futures is offered free of charge.

    Register here to attend Aerial Futures, Leading Edge. 


    See the full program of Aerial Futures, Leading Edge:


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