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RMJM Istanbul has been shortlisted in a global competition to design the iconic 95m high Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower of Istanbul New Airport, due to open in 2018. Inspired by authentic symbols of Turkey, the competition saw applications from many renowned international design brands, including RMJM Istanbul.

The team at RMJM Istanbul were inspired by the seagulls of Istanbul and Turkey’s ancient pottery and textile industries. The design director for the project said: “The spirit of flying, body of moulding and skin of expression are the three architectural metaphors that create this ‘container and protector of life’. It was clear to us that this project had to be unique; this is the flag that will be raised to symbolise the new, vibrant, global Turkey. As witnesses to this amazing transformation, we aspire to make this building far more than an ATC Tower. Rather, we are designing a new symbol for this country, the pinnacle of a new landmark airport that provides that vital ‘Welcome to Turkey’ moment.”

Istanbul Air Traffic Control Tower
A render of the RMJM-designed Istanbul Air Traffic Control Tower

Seagulls and the fluidity of flight are expressed through the aerodynamic form of the structure, which barely touches the ground and has a neck providing 360 visibility. The main body of the structure is more moulded than sculpted as a reminder of Turkey’s great pottery tradition, whilst the final element of RMJM Istanbul’s design is the detail of a loom in the form of delicate horizontal layers of ‘woven skin’ around the building.

Yusuf Akçayoğlu, CEO of İGA, said “We are developing a unique project inspired by local architecture. We have organised this competition in the hope that the Airport Traffic Control Tower design will symbolically contribute a great deal to Istanbul New Airport, as well as becoming an important icon for the whole of Istanbul. We asked contestants to see inspiration from icons of Turkey. Currently, we are evaluating the submitted proposals and will announce the results soon.”

Istanbul Air Traffic Control Tower
An aerial view render of the Istanbul Air Traffic Control Tower

About IGA
IGA was founded on October 7, 2013 with the purpose of constructing and operating Istanbul New Airport for 25 years. The new airport will be constructed over an area of 76.5 million square meters to the north of Istanbul, 35 km from the city centre. The construction will be carried out in four phases. The first phase will be finalised in 2018 with the opening of three runways and a terminal with a 90 million passenger capacity. Once complete, the new airport will host more than 150 airline companies flying to more than 350 destinations with an annual passenger capacity up to 200 million.