Pininfarina and Aekom's innovative tulip-inspired design was announced Thursday as the winner of the international design competition for the air traffic control tower of Istanbul's third airport. The AECOM and Pininfarina design is an elliptical tower that harnesses aerodynamics. The design combines speed, modernity and romanticism, while its tulip-inspired shape is a beautiful reference to centuries-old history of Anatolia.
Initiated by the Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA), the contest saw many world-renowned designers from both the aviation and automotive sectors submit proposals. The tulip-inspired design was chosen from a total of six entries from international architectural teams such as Zaha Hadid, Moshe Safdie, Fuksas, Grimshaw-Nordic and RMJM.
Commenting on the results of the contest, IGA CEO Yusuf Akçayoğlu said the air traffic control tower had an especially symbolic meaning for the new Istanbul Airport, which is set to be the world's largest new airport in terms of annual passenger capacity.
Stressing that they were looking for just the right design that would befit a 21st century airport while at the same time remaining sensitive to Istanbul's unique heritage, the Akçayoğlu said it was a tough call between the six top designs. "The new air traffic control tower will be an iconic structure, visible to all passengers traveling through the airport," Akçayoğlu said, emphasizing that the new tower will be built on a 5,000-square-meter construction area with a height of 95 meters. "We aim to complete the air traffic control tower in October 2017," he said, adding that the construction will begin in May 2016.
The new airport is currently being built on the European side of Istanbul and is expected to be completed by 2018. It will also have an initial capacity of 90 million passengers per year, but it will be able to host 200 million after extensions are finalized.