Istanbul New Airport, Istanbul | 2015
Architects: AECOM + Pininfarina
Client: Seda Okay, iGA
AECOM and Pininfarina are the winners of an international design competition for the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) and technical building at Istanbul New Airport. Uniquely, their innovative entry marries influences from the aviation and automotive sectors, with strong architectural design. A visual reference point for all passengers flying in and out, the ATCT will be the signature of Istanbul New Airport, which is set to be the world’s largest new airport in terms of annual passenger capacity when complete. The competition called for concept designs that showcased contemporary, sustainable architectural design while reflecting Istanbul’s rich multi-cultural and historical heritage.
The tower’s shape is inspired by the tulip, which has been a symbol of Istanbul for many centuries and is an important cultural reference in Turkish history. The elliptical shape of the tower influences all aspects of the form and geometry of the technical building below. A number of the building’s characteristics are influenced by historical Turkish architecture, including a double-height central atrium that has a bespoke mosaic-patterned skylight. The concept for the tower and technical building is focused on the daily functional requirements of the facility and the people who use it. Designed to create a simple, logical flow, the building incorporates the full cycle of human activities, with dedicated areas for sleep, work, play and relaxation, as well as eating and learning. The tower connects the observation cabin with both the ground and basement floors, with all technical work areas located on these levels. These work spaces include offices separated by glazed partitions to maximise the penetration of natural daylight. At the heart of the technical building is a meteorology centre on the first floor with open views to the sky via roof lights.
The first floor provides space for staff to relax when off duty, as well as learning facilities. Active areas, including a sports hall, are located away from quiet areas. Benefiting from early morning sun, sleeping areas are designed to provide the ideal rest zone for staff. The inclination of the structure’s façade is used to create a raised bed deck, as well as a small lounge and wash facilities in each unit. Lounge zones including dining areas adjoin the central atrium and benefit from natural daylight. They also connect well with education areas, which include a large lecture theatre with a raked floor over the double-height sports hall below. The sport and rest zones are prioritised in the design to encourage healthy living and social interaction. A cafeteria is located next to the central atrium, with additional dining areas and kitchens on the first floor so that staff can prepare and enjoy meals throughout the day.
The upper deck of the stacked building design presents an opportunity to use solar collectors to provide hot water, as well as photovoltaic panels to generate on-site electricity. Rainwater harvesting could also be applied to reduce the building’s water footprint by re-using rainwater for WC flushing and irrigation. In addition to these conventional technologies, there is scope in the design to introduce innovative renewable solutions. For example, the tower could be used to drive stack ventilation – using air pressure differences due to its height – through a low-velocity turbine for electricity generation.