Global design and engineering firm AECOM and Italian design and engineering firm Pininfarina are the winners of the international design competition for the Istanbul New Airport air traffic control tower, according to a press release. The competition was organized by Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA)—a consortium of five leading Turkish contractors who are heading the project—and is part of the scheme for a new overall airport plan. The winning design was chosen from six shortlisted concepts and beat out designs from Zaha Hadid Architects, Safdie Architects, RMJM Architecture and Masterplanning, Fuksas, and Grimshaw + Nordic.
The Istanbul New Airport is set to be the world's largest recently developed airport in terms of annual passenger capacity at up to 200 million people per year. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in July 2014, on an area of 76.5 million square meters (approximately 823.4 million square feet), 22 miles away from the city center.
AECOM and Pininfarina's air control tower design was inspired by the shape of a tulip, a flower that has held significant meaning in Turkish art and culture after its rise to popularity during Ottoman sultan Ahmed III's reign (better known as the "Tulip Period") in the early 18th-century. Aesthetically, the tower takes cues from the aerodynamic forms used in the automotive and aviation industries, with smooth lines and round edges throughout.
According to IGA, most shortlisted designs were influenced by Turkish culture. Zaha Hadid Architects were inspired by whirling dervishes; RMJM by the ever-present seagulls of Istanbul; Fuksas by minarets; and Safdie Architects by Ottoman geometrical patterns. See the shortlisted designs below.
The first flights are anticipated to take off by 2028.