THE AMERICAN Institute of Architects (AIA) honoured Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, with the highest award for public architecture, the Thomas Jefferson Award on June 10, 2010, at the AIA National Convention in Miami, Florida. Mr Fentress, designer of some of the world’s most admired airports (including Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea and Denver International Airport in Colorado), is well known for his creative approaches to these most complex of public spaces. He is the first airport architect to receive this prestigious honour. The award recognizes Fentress for: “a portfolio of accomplishments that evidences great depth while making a significant contribution to the quality of public architecture.”
Fentress Architects says that he first revolutionized airport design by: “flipping the airport upside down” with the peaked roof of Denver International Airport and that: “for the first time, an airport became the symbol of a city.”
In the 18 years since the Jefferson Award was first bestowed, only eight individuals have been recognized in the ‘private-sector architect’ category. Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, was an architect, thought leader and inventor.