Contact Henrik Rothe

Areas of expertise

  • Design, Strategy & Innovation


Henrik is an accomplished architect with considerable expertise in airport planning, terminal design and urbanism. Assignments by leading airports and industry consortia in 45 countries include Vienna Airport, Unique Zurich Airport, SEA Milano, Gazprom Bank, Bristol Airport and the development of the new Khartoum International Airport from Site selection to construction supervision.

Henrik engages in pioneering work that expands the possibilities of design innovation, pushing the functional and spatial integration of airports with its urban environment. For his work on the new GLA HQ in London Henrik was awarded The RIBA’s Presidents Medal.

Henrik’s professional work is inextricably related to research and teaching in the UK, Europe, Asia and Africa. Fascinated by the unexplored potential of airports as driver for development Henrik conceived the Urban Turbine Research Project and joined Cranfield University in 2014. 

Within the Digital Aviation Research Technology Centre (DARTeC) Henrik is leading the City Boarding Lab and supporting the Passenger Experience Lab, home to academia and industry collaboration, preparing airports and cities for future mobility challenges.  

Relevant project expertise include:

Khartoum New International Airport: Site selection, Master planning, Concept and Detail design, Tendering to contractors and Site supervision  

Pulkovo St Petersburg International Airport: Lead technical advisor for Vienna Airport and Gazprombank lead consortium for Airport Privatisation

Malpensa International Airport: Masterplan for a third runway, new midfield terminal and redevelopment of Terminal 1 

Formula 1 certified Lausitz Ring racetrack, Germany: Project development and Master planning, 

Leipzig-Halle International Airport, Masterplan and Passenger terminal concept 

Further Master planning, Design and Project management projects for 75 airports in 35 countries worldwide 

Henrik holds an MA in Architecture and Urban Planning at the Architectural Association, School of Architecture London, awarded with the Presidents medal of the RIBA, 2000.

Research opportunities

Henrik is interested in research opportunities transgressing the area of aviation and urban planning and design. This includes challenges to the airport business model following COVID-19 disruption and wider issues of sustainable mobility including aviation.

Current activities

Joining Cranfield University in September 2014 was a logical consequence and culmination of Henrik’s teaching activities, intrinsically connected to his previous work as practising airport architect and urban designer. Cranfield allowed him to extend his previous architecture and design teaching experiences at the Architectural Association in London, London Met, University of Brighton and Leeds Becket (formerly Leeds Metropolitan University) into the specifics of airport planning and management. Henrik is Module leader in the MSc Airport Planning and Management (APM) course for Airport Design. He is running this week-long teaching course for 20 to 25 full-time students and between 5 and 10 CPD Short course delegates and part-time students. From his previous experience, Henrik has integrated successful contemporary workshop-based teaching methods, engaging students in applying knowledge from morning lectures in three structured workshop sessions in the afternoon. The aim of the Airport design module is to provide delegates with a range of skills and key insights into airfield, landside and passenger terminal designs including an introduction into regulatory requirements and international design standards.

Henrik always encourages his students to discover and unfold their personal potential and offers opportunities for participation in real-life situations. When Henrik was lead architect for the Khartoum New International Airport in Sudan between 2004 and 2010 he arranged a one-week visit for 15 BA students from the Architectural Association in close collaboration with the University of Khartoum. Students were visiting the city centre as well as the airport construction site and were asked to produce a study project related to the new airport.

Similarly, Henrik engaged Cranfield MSc PT students and participants of the APTM Airport Planning and Transport Management course for young employees of the Flughafen Wien GmbH to a joint project for a new Arrivals terminal at Jersey Airport. The collaboration proofed to be very successful and students were invited to present their project to the Board of the Jersey Port Company.

Henrik offers students to engage in topics presented and discussed in the Airport Design module for their Individual Research Project (IPR). Wojciech Reczek investigated the integration of an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) terminal into a commercial airport following a presentation in the Airport Design module. Upon successful completion of his IPR  under Henrik's supervision, Wojciech was directly employed as Head of Vertiports & Infrastructure at VRCO LTD in Derby. On LinkedIn Wojciech expressed his gratitude - ‘Thank you Henrik! You were the sustaining factor that enabled that and I am so grateful to have you as my thesis supervisor! Thanks for making that happen’.

For Henrik, it is important and enjoyable to engage students in situations and platforms where teaching seamlessly blends into research. His Urban Turbine Research Project has inspired several students including Javeed Khan, who came to Cranfield from India in 2018 and is now leading airport master plan projects at Pascall+Watson in London and recently Constantinos Neophytou, who finished his ATM Master thesis on alternative baggage handling options for the Salzburger Flughafen GmbH, one of the sponsors of the Urban Turbine. His study has caught the interest of the airport and work has commenced implementing one of the proposed scenarios. In 2017, Matthias Auer won Best Thesis Award at Cranfield and landed the position of Terminal Systems Manager in Airport Planning at Greater Toronto Airports Authority. 

This direct impact, beneficial for all participants including the student, the university and industry enterprises is driving Henrik’s work as an architect, designer and educator.

Henrik’s further teaching and training activities include Airport process simulation. A 4-day workshop is curated in collaboration with ARC Aachen introducing CAST software. For the best learning experience, Henrik is thriving to provide the best environments including the innovative Learning Sandpit in Martell House  and Computer Lab 52a in the Vincent building.

Henrik is teaching airport master planning and contemporary Airport and City relationships in the Airport Strategic Planning Module.

In all teaching and training engagements, students benefit from Henrik’s extensive network and personal contacts in the airport industry. He also offers students the opportunity to present their work at international conferences as at the Facility Management in Airports Conference in Amsterdam, which Henrik chaired in 2017.

Following a presentation of his work in airport planning and design at IATA Global Airport & Passenger Symposium in Warsaw in October 2019, Cranfield University was invited to provide academic professional Training in Strategic Airport Planning to Centralny Port Komunikacyjny Sp. z.o.o. – the Stakeholder Cooperation developing and implementing the new multimodal Transport Hub for Poland. Alongside his colleague’s Dr Romano Pagliari, Dr Tom Budd, Dr Pere Suau-Sanchez, Richard Moxon and Dr Edgar Jimenez, the 4-day short course provided a comprehensive insight into the complexity of planning and executing an airport masterplan and its integration into the urban and regional development plan.

Previously Henrik has trained young airport employees at Flughafen Wien AG in their Airport Planning and Transport Management (APTM) course, organised by Cranfield University. The course was extended by another module following the successful development of an alternative Arrivals terminal concept for Jersey Airport leading to a presentation to the board of the Jersey Airport company (Ports of Jersey).  

Henrik’s unique professional career spanning from designing airports to training people how to make better use of these facilities brings together industry experts and academics and thrived progress towards better integration of airports and passengers in cities and regions. Henrik’s ambitions are best summarised in the Urban Turbine Research Project, investigating the possibilities of sharing facilities for the greatest mutual benefit of airports and cities, manage better demand and capacity and respond to new global travel, life and work requirements. The Project has received funding from HEIF and Research Cycle#2020 has started 13 March 2020 with the kick-off workshop at the first industry funder Flughafen Salzburg GmbH. Inspiration was drawn from the Green Nile Sub-regional plan in Khartoum where Henrik was the lead architect in the design of the new Greenfield Airport. 

The Integrated Multimodal Airport Operations for Efficient Passenger Flow Management Project (IMHOTEP) led by Nommon in partnership with Cranfield University and supported by ISDEFE, Aimsun, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, TU Dresden, AENA, EMT Palma and London City Airport is an example for Henrik’s work inspiring academic research. The Project has received a €2m H2020 SESAR Exploratory Research Grant by the European Commission investigating more efficient communication between air space management, airport operators and terrestrial transport. Case studies for the participating London City and Palma de Mallorca Airport are to develop and assess shared airport decision-making strategies including airspace and landside for better customer experience and fostering benefits for better utilisation of the airport and urban infrastructure. 

On campus Henrik is part of the DARTeC community and heading one of DARTeC’s research laboratories, the City Boarding Lab, home for the Urban Turbine Research Project and other research related to the physical and digital relationship between airports and cities including Urban Air Mobility.   


Aviation & Airports International Corp.

BAM Deutschland AG

Bristol International Airport

CPK Centralny Port Komunikacyjny Sp. z.o.o.

Dar Al-Handasah

Dorsch Consult GmbH

European Commission Horizon 2020 SESAR 2019-2

Flughafen Salzburg GmbH

Flughafen Wien AG

Ports of Jersey (Airport & Harbours)

SE Lithuanian Airports

Singapore University of Social Science

Spiekermann GmbH 

WSP Group


Articles In Journals

  • Rothe H (2016) Local influence, Passenger Terminal World, March (Showcase 2016) 12-12.
  • Roebuck M & Rothe H (2009) Tricks of the trade, Low Cost & Regional Airline Business, July 58-61.
  • Rothe H & De Rhigetti I (2001) A different approach, Passenger Terminal World, March.

Conference Papers

  • Lukin A, Hunyadi I, Corradi M, Demunter P, Vanhee B, Dr Jensen Vorster B, Nayager K , Dimitrov L, Brown R, Gierhard D, Brown F, Camp A, Garner M Henderson L, Nick A & Rothe H (2018) Aerial ropeways as alternative form of transport for airport access. In: Airport Regions Conference: An Intermodal Approach Towards Airport Access.
  • Rothe H (2016) Airports turning intermodal. In: Global Airport & Passenger Forum, Warsaw.
  • Rothe H (2009) Giant sheds. In: Passenger Terminal Expo 2009, London, 24-26 March 2009.


  • Rothe H (2010) Civics, politics, urbanism and change. In: London +10, AA Publications, p. 187-193.
  • Rothe H & Scheeren O (2000) MexT Project. In: City levels, London: August Birkhäusen, p. 19-21.