Aecom and Pininfarina win Istanbul airport design competition


Aecom and Pininfarina has been chosen as the winners of an international design competition to design the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower and technical building for the Istanbul New Airport.

The winning entry marries the influences of aviation and automotive sectors, beating proposals from firms including Zaha Hadid, Fuksas, Moshe Safdie, Grimshaw-Nordic and RMJM.

© AECOM and Pininfarina; Courtesy of iGA


The design was the first collaboration between Aecom and Pininfarina.

Yusuf Akçayoğlu, chief executive officer of İGA, said: “One of the World’s largest aviation projects, Istanbul New Airport’s air traffic control tower will be an iconic structure, visible to all passengers travelling through the airport. We were looking for a striking design fit for a 21st century airport while remaining sensitive to Istanbul’s unique heritage. We received excellent designs from all over the world and are delighted to announce the AECOM and Pininfarina team as the competition winner.”

The ATC will be the landmark for Istanbul New Airport, which is set to be the world’s largest new airport in terms of annual passenger capacity. The competition scope was to deliver the concept designs for the tower, showcasing sustainable design that reflects the multi-cultural and historical characteristics of Istanbul.

© AECOM and Pininfarina; Courtesy of iGA

The tower evokes aerodynamic forms used in automotive and aviation design and includes an elliptical tower that will be visible to all passengers flying in and out of the new airport. The shape of the structure is inspired by the tulip, which has been marked as a symbol of Istanbul for many centuries as well as being an important cultural reference to Turkish history.

“In this competition, our aim was to combine the dynamism and romance of Pininfarina’s architectural style that is so influenced by automotive design with AECOM’s in-house aviation architecture capabilities. The AECOM and Pininfarina team has created a beautiful and highly functional piece that rekindles the excitement and glamour of modern air travel at the crossroads of Europe and Asia,” said Jennifer Dixon, head of architecture, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, AECOM.

© AECOM and Pininfarina; Courtesy of iGA

Bernardo Gogna, senior vice president and director of global aviation, AECOM, added: “Our approach to this competition was to combine the expertise of a different design industry with AECOM’s in-house aviation architecture and engineering capabilities. Our goal was to bring Pininfarina’s values, which are grounded in tradition and craftsmanship, to the world of aviation. The result marries pure iconic beauty with true innovation.”

Commenting on the project, Paolo Pininfarina, chairman of Pininfarina, said: “The Istanbul ATC for the New Airport is an iconic building, destined to become a landmark for Istanbul. Our aim, as with all our projects, was to develop a bespoke idea that embodied our partner’s design identity while at the same time bringing a new aesthetic perspective.

© AECOM and Pininfarina; Courtesy of iGA

“By leveraging the unique combination of our 85 years’ experience in design – from cars to superyachts, and from luxury products to furniture – with our architectural knowledge gained from several projects around the world, we have been able to create a technologically advanced structure of distinctive character.”

The design competition is the latest win for AECOM at Istanbul New Airport. Earlier this year it was appointed by İGA to deliver designs for all the airside works at the airport. The new airport will have an initial capacity of 90 million passengers per year. It will be located on the European side of the city, 35 kilometres from the centre on a site adjacent to the Black Sea. Subsequent planned phases will expand the airport to include six runways and three terminal buildings. When all phases are complete, the airport will have an annual capacity of up to 200 million passengers, a release revealed.



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