April 5—6, 2018
New York, NY, USA


 In cities where demand for air travel is high, it’s not uncommon to find two, three or even — as is increasingly the case in some metropolitan areas — six airports. These multiple-airport cities offer new kinds of challenges for passengers and urban dwellers who may struggle to navigate their aerial infrastructure. The fragmentation of airports in a single city, frequently owned and operated by different governing bodies, can lead to unpredictable and even confusing experiences. 

Despite the ambitious renovations and annexations underway, from London to Tokyo and Istanbul to New York, a city’s metropolitan aerial infrastructure is rarely understood as a single urban system. How should we rethink multiple-airport cities more holistically?

AERIAL FUTURES: URBAN CONSTELLATIONS explored airport-city interfaces as infrastructure, operating at a metropolitan scale. This think-tank used New York City as a case study to trigger responses across disciplines. Selected participants reimagined airport constellations as a choreographed urban ecosystem that relies as much on architecture as it does on technology and data-driven design.

Form follows information. New technologies – such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, real-time digital experiences, robotics, and autonomous vehicles – will transform the way aerial infrastructures look and feel in the future. This AERIAL FUTURES think tank challenged our expectations about time in transit, wayfinding, security, and commerce; and explored how technology will redefine disconnected landscapes into continuous, integrated urban airport systems.



site visit: 3:00-4:30PM full
TWA Hotel @ JFK Airport

Think Tank: 9:00am-4:00PM full
New Lab


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Agatha Kessler

Agatha Kessler has worked as an executive in the worlds of finance and technology, building international businesses in emerging products with VISA and Hewlett-Packard. Energized by the intersection of technology, business and design, in 2007 she joined Fentress Architects as CEO. She holds an MBA and has lived in many cities around the world. Currently, as Chairman of Fentress Architects, Agatha serves on a number of boards, including Opera Colorado and the Design Futures Council. With a keen interest in the future of air travel, Agatha co-founded AERIAL FUTURES at the same time as she started her pursuit of a PhD in Aviation at Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University


Alex Chatham

Alex Chatham is a New York based industrial designer and entrepreneur. After studying at the Rhode Island School of Design and Istituto Europeo di Design, he started his career designing cars for Italy’s legendary Bertone. He has developed consumer products that millions of people use every day for major brands like LG, SCJ, Panasonic, InBev and Lenovo. Alex now runs a startup called Spacial that is developing autonomous blimps for a variety of applications in and around the urban environment.


Anna Gasco

Anna Gasco is a project coordinator and senior researcher at the ETH-Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore (FCL) where she leads the research project “ The Grand Projet - towards adaptable and liveable urban megaprojects.” A native Italian born in Congo, her international career is juxtaposed with research that began in 2011, when she joined FCL. In this multidisciplinary research center, she completed her PhD on the urbanizing effects of airports, particularly that of Singapore Changi Airport. Chartered architect and urban designer, Anna has worked on visionary urban projects at multiple scales and acts as a consultant for both public and private clients in Europe and Asia. 


Ben Rubin

Artist and designer Ben Rubin is the Director of the Center for Data Arts at The New School. His work has been exhibited in museums worldwide, including the WhitneyMoMA, and the Science Museum, London. He is an expert in the design of interactive information systems, and he has served as a consultant to IBMMicrosoft, the United Nations, and others. Sound design and acoustics are central to Ben’s practice; Ethicon hired him to redesign the audible interface for their Harmonic surgical instruments, as did HP for their printer and office products. Ben’s awards include an Obie for theatrical projection design, a Webbie for “net art,” an Arts Electronica Golden Nica for interactive art, a Third Coast Audio award, and numerous honors for his public installations.

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Campbell Hyers

As an Executive Principal at Intersection, Campbell Hyers has defined and shaped the firm’s core offerings at the convergence of the digital and physical worlds. As a founding partner of Intersection’s technology practice, his leadership launched a leading user experience firm that blends business strategy, UX design and digital tools. With a focus of injecting digital strategy into large shared spaces, his portfolio includes the creation of the Delta/OTG first-of-its-kind tablet concierge, establishing a digital master planning process for connected communities and airports, and helping the world’s largest retailer implement rapid modernization at scale to reenvision their scope of customer service. Campbell speaks frequently on the opportunity for digital to improve value and experience at scale in brick and mortar environments. He is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, curators of the United States Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.


Curtis Fentress

Curtis Fentress is the Principal Airport Terminal Designer at Fentress Architects, an international design studio he founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1980. He is also the Co-Founder of AERIAL FUTURES. Curtis’ airports have garnered recognition worldwide for design excellence and an outstanding “airside-to-curbside” traveler experience. These include game-changing international airports such as DenverIncheon and the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Recipient of the AIA Tomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture in 2010, Curtis has developed a reputation as a hybrid architect, developing iconic design and high-profile public architecture. 

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Cynthia Davidson

Cynthia Davidson is Executive Director of the nonprofit Anyone Corporation architecture think tank in New York City and editor of the international architecture journal Log and the former ANY magazine, a tabloid she edited from 1993–2000. She is responsible for more than 40 books in print and oversees the Writing Architecture series published with MIT Press. Cynthia also organizes exhibitions, including co-curating the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, and has hosted a number of cross-cultural multidisciplinary conferences on architecture at venues far and wide. Occasionally she writes for periodicals that begin with the letter ‘A’, including ArtforumArquitectura VivaAA Files, and Abitare. A former Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, she was recognized by The American Academy of Arts and Letters with its Architecture Award in 2014.

Dan Verbsky

Dan Verbsky is a Senior Account Manager at LG Electronics for the transportation industry. Prior to that, he worked as the Director of Hardware Solutions at CMS provider Four Winds Interactive for 7 years. Dan has over 23 years in the display industry with a background in design, installation, support, and solutions consulting.


David Cook 

David Cook, AIA, is an Associate at Grimshaw, where he has worked for the past eight years. In 1999, while at HOK, he worked on a feasibility study for Delta Air Lines at JFK Airport. Since then, David has continued to work on aviation, transportation and infrastructure projects, as well as other project types, including higher education and commercial. His most recent completed projects for Grimshaw are the Broadhead Center for Student Life at Duke University and the Croton Water Filtration Plan in Bronx, NY. He also recently led the design of a bus terminal prototype that will be deployed at multiple sites in Doha, Qatar. David received his Master of Architecture from Columbia University, and has spoken at numerous schools and conferences including most recently Pratt, Parsons School of Design, SCUP, and Wood at Work 2017.


Derrick Choi

Derrick Choi AIA, Aviation and Transportation Leader at Gensler, is an award-winning aviation architect and transportation planning professional with nearly two decades of experience working on challenging international aviation, transportation, infrastructure, and urban design projects from Asia, North America, Europe, and the Middle East.  He has been privileged to have participated in aviation design projects for the world’s leading airport clientele from Amsterdam-Schiphol to Atlanta to Abu Dhabi. A graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Derrick has worked at a number of leading aviation design practices with a wide-ranging portfolio of aviation projects from airport cities to private general aviation hangars.


James P. Cramer

James P. Cramer is the former Chief Executive of the American Institute of Architects, Washington D.C.  Following his 16 years of service with the AIA he founded the Design Futures Council and its journal DesignIntelligence.  He also founded the Greenway Group, Inc. a management consultancy working in the fields of strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and visioning retreats.  James sold his shares in the Greenway Group in 2014 and his shares in the DFC and Design Intelligence in 2016. He has authored six books including How Firms Succeed, A Field Guide to Design Management (co-author, Scott Simpson) now in its 5th Edition. James is a Richard Upjohn Fellow of the AIA and he is the recipient of awards from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, the American Society of Interior Designers, and he received the Presidential Medal from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

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Jeffrey Dugan

Jeffrey Dugan, AIA, is a partner at Dattner Architects. With over 35 years of experience focused on the design of transit facilities for air and rail, he is a leader within the firm’s Transportation and Infrastructure studio. In response to Governor Cuomo’s design competition involving the re-envisioning of LaGaurdia Airport, Jeffrey co-led the firm’s visionary urban master plan – Port LaGuardia – developing a series of bold ideas that focused on an incremental series of airside, landside, and waterside improvements. Through this cohesive master plan and the design of a unified terminal with Ferry, Subway, and AirTrain connectivity, a contemporary gateway was established, and many of the solutions incorporated into the Governor’s Advisory Committee’s Master Plan. As a leader in the industry, he serves as the co-chair of AIANY’s Transportation + Infrastructure (T+I) Committeewhere he contributes to the Chapter’s advocacy effort for T+I planning, design, and resiliency in public policy.

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Jonathan Massey

Jonathan Massey is a Managing Principal with Corgan, where he is the head of Aviation. For the past 25 years, he has played a key role in numerous terminal projects ranging in scale from Shanghai Pudong’s 110 gate Satellite Concourse, to state of the art terminals for Southwest Airlines. Jonathan's project experience includes passenger terminal feasibility, planning and design, airport master planning, support facility design and operational planning.  His focus is functional optimization, a tailored passenger experience and an effective planning and design process. Jonathan is a licensed architect in multiple states and a LEED Accredited Professional.


Marcel Botha

Marcel Botha is an entrepreneur, engineer, architect and investor. He experiments with novel hardware ideas on the edge between consumer and medical products.  Feeding off his passion for product acceleration and digital manufacturing, he guides product development teams from concept to commercialization. Marcel founded 10XBeta in 2010, since building an international team of designers and engineers who together have initiated, accelerated, and commercialized a diverse range of venture-backed and self-funded products with notable Fortune 500 partners. He has founded, invested and sold positions in multiple companies since graduating from MIT. Current and prior affiliations include Timesulin, Infant Ventures, MIT Council for the Arts, MIT Smart Cities, MIT Mobile Experience Lab, MIT Digital Design and Fabrication Group and MIT Center for Bits and Atoms.


Margaret Newman

With over 25 years of experience as an architect and urban planner, Margaret Newman is a Principal at ARUP, focusing on public realm projects as part of the fabric and context of cities. With a deep knowledge of the design process, direct experience with key city agencies, resilient infrastructure and with the long term planning around transportation networks, she directs design for many public and private sector projects.  Prior to joining ARUP, Margaret headed up her own consulting firm More Urban, advising on design, and urban planning projects. Under Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Sadik-Khan, she served as Chief of Staff at the NYC Department of Transportation where she directed major agency projects including the capital construction plan for Times Square. Newman received a Master’s degree in Architecture from Princeton University, is a certified LEED BD+C professional and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

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Marina Suberlyak

Armed with 10 years of airline and commercial experience, Marina Suberlyak recently joined Norwegian Air Shuttle to help solidify the airline’s disruptive presence in the Transatlantic market, and beyond. Combining hands on experience in revenue, network planning and customer marketing at US Airways and JetBlue, she brings a unique perspective on identifying and nurturing opportunities for airlines and airports alike. Grounded by data at her core, in the most recent role heading JetBlue Vacations business unit, Marina led research and development projects to transform packaging product stereotypes into flexible, customer-centric, digital and physical journey interconnected offering poised to modernize how airlines think about their suite of products in the future.


Max Hirsh

Max Hirsh (PhD, Harvard) is a professor at the University of Hong Kong and a leading expert on airports, migration, and transport infrastructure. He is the author of Airport Urbanism: an unprecedented study of air travel that incorporates the perspective of passengers, architects, planners, and aviation executives. With a particular focus on the rise of Asia, the book sheds light on the exponential increase in global air travel and its implications for the planning, design, and operation of airports worldwide. Max also writes the popular blog, where he presents leading-edge strategies for tackling the challenges that confront airports today. 


Mitchell Joachim

Mitchell Joachim is Co-Founder of Terreform ONE and an Associate Professor at NYU. He was formerly an architect at Gehry Partners LLP, and Pei Cobb Freed. He has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and fellowships with TED, Moshe Safdie, and Martin Society for Sustainability, MIT. He was chosen by Wired magazine for "The Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To." Rolling Stone magazine honored Mitchell in "The 100 People Who Are Changing America." Mitchell has won many awards including; AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, Victor Papanek Social Design Award, Zumtobel Award for Sustainability, Architizer A+ Award, History Channel Infiniti Award for City of the Future, and Time Magazine Best Invention with MIT Smart Cities Car. Dwell magazine featured him as "The NOW 99" in 2012. He co-authored three books, "XXL-XS: New Directions in Ecological Design," "Super Cells: Building with Biology," and "Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned". His work has been exhibited at MoMA and the Venice Biennale. He earned a PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MAUD at Harvard University, and MArch from Columbia University.



Nic Scholz is a multidisciplinary designer and Co-Founder of SILO Inc. He holds a BFA in industrial design from RISD and is a fellow at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. Previously he has worked with NASA conceptualizing low gravity transportation systems on celestial bodies and with Chrysler developing steering interfaces for disabled drivers. He has had products showcased in the New York Times Style Magazine. Nic is focused on human interaction with consumer electronic devices, large-scale manufacturing processes, and complex industrial systems. Currently he is building a body of large prints showcasing the internal beauty and engineering prowess of jet engines.

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Rob Eisenstat

Rob Eisenstat is the Chief Architect of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Engineering Department, an award-winning multi-disciplinary in-house department of architects, landscape architects, planners, and engineers who provide design and construction management services for the agency. He has been an architect in the Engineering Department for the past 27 years. He holds NCARB and LEED certification, and is a member of the Architectural League of New York and the American Institute of Architects, where he has been co-chair of the New York Chapter Transportation + Infrastructure Committee since 2007.


Robert Chicas

Robert Chicas is the global director of Aviation + Transportation based in HOK’s New York office and serves on the firm’s board of directors. He specializes in leading large-scale airport projects and is recognized throughout the industry for his ability to lead multidisciplinary teams through the delivery of complex projects. Robert regularly speaks at industry events including Passenger Terminal Expo and the ACC/AAAE symposium. As an expert on aviation trends and enhancing the passenger experience, he has authored or contributed to more than a dozen articles in design and aviation trade publications including Passenger Terminal Today, Centerlines, BD+C Magazine, and The Atlantic’s CityLab. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute School of Architecture. 

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STEPStephen Barrett

Stephen Barrett is a Partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), where he has worked for over 25 years. He was project architect for the Bordeaux Law Courts project, France; Terminal 4 Barajas Satellite, Madrid; and for the new Control Tower at Heathrow Airport. He spent two years seconded to the RSHP Madrid office as project architect for Campus Palmas Altas in Seville. In 2008, Stephen led a multi-disciplinary team participating in the international consultancy on the future of metropolitan Paris “Le Grand Pari(s)”, a masterplan for Greater Paris 2025 commissioned by former President Sarkozy, examining the changing needs of urban Paris in the 21st Century. Since 2012 he has been leading the team that won an international competition for the new Terminal at Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport and from 2016 he has been leading the team for Geneva Airport Aile-Est. Stephen is a member of the RSHP sustainability group. He led the LEED certification process on the Campus Palmas Altas project in Seville and managed the environmental footprint audit of the practice’s own activities in 2008. He is a qualified BREEAM International Assessor.