When Curt Fentress was growing up in rural North Carolina, he knew a good many builders but not a single architect. His passion for drawing took him initially to the engineering school at NC State University. When he discovered a talent for designing buildings, he enrolled at the College of Design for his architectural degree and never looked back.
Fentress, now a leading international architect for over three decades, has been chosen to receive the College of Design’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2010.
The award is given annually to an alum “who (has) made significant contributions to new insights, fostering original ideas and searching for added knowledge” in the design professions. He will receive his award Jan. 28, 2011, at the Evening of Stars Gala held at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C. Sponsored by the Alumni Association of NC State University, the annual program honors the accomplishments of key alumni from its eleven colleges.
Fentress credits the College of Design at NC State for giving him the “strength and skill to tackle life’s challenges and opportunities.”
“I have been privileged to work with some of the finest architects and clients in the world, and to design international airport terminals in Denver, Los Angeles and Raleigh-Durham, so close to where it all began,” said Fentress. “All my accomplishments so far are based on the solid foundation I earned while I was at NC State. For this, I am forever grateful.”
Fentress, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, graduated from the School of Design (now the College of Design) at NC State University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. While a senior he was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal by the architecture faculty – the highest honor given to a graduating architect.
Fentress immediately went to work for the prestigious New York firm of I.M. Pei, where he contributed to the design of the Raffles Place Center in Singapore, among other projects. At the Kohn Pedersen Fox firm a few years later, he worked on the Amoco Building in Denver, which garnered him Building Design and Construction Magazine’s “Young Professional of the Year” in 1977. He established his own firm in 1980.
Over the next thirty years, Fentress’ designs received more than 350 awards and accolades and resulted in over $26 billion of architectural projects. Among his most visible recent works are the passenger terminal at Denver International Airport, Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Arraya Tower in Kuwait City (fourth tallest building in the world completed in 2009) and the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Washington, D.C. Current projects include modernization of the Los Angeles International Airport and Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which opened Jan. 24, 2011.
“Curt Fentress is an architect with exceptional talent who has demonstrated his ability in the conceptualization and realization of a wonderful new front door at Raleigh-Durham International Airport,” said Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA, Dean of the College of Design at NC State. “Our importance as a University will be felt through his contribution to the citizens of our state for generations to come.”
As a member of the Royal Institute of the British Architects, American Institute of Architects National Design Committee, Urban Land Institute, Design Futures Council, and the Urban Design Forum, Fentress lectures around the world. Learn more at www.fentressarchitects.com.