Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Airport Traffic Control Tower in Turkey by RMJM Group
March 15th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: RMJM Group
Bird – Spirit of the Tower
An air traffic control tower is the absolute symbol of aviation industry, of traveling, of welcoming and of wishing good bye. The highest building in the airport is as important as a first impression as any. It signals arrival or departure, safety and a watch over the complicated and definitely not earthly experience of flying. In other words although not a gate in shape it is undoubtedly the metaphor of one.
The Air Traffic Control Towers around the world are defined from their function and more or less they all end up with an unproportionally large volume on top of a very thin core. Sometimes we see them trying to break their geometry but always remain solid guardians of the passengers and the crews with clear and always recognizable form.
We believe that in this specific site, in this specific location and this specific airport the spirit of the ‘watchtower’ can extend itself and become a symbol of warmth, of technology and a clear declaration that this is not only the largest but also the most welcoming airport in the world.
The fluidity of the flying is expressed on the aerodynamic form of the structure that stops being a building and becomes an object. The object barely touches the ground. The neck extends to the highest level and the 360 degrees eyes watch, control and direct the perpetual aerial movement of airplanes and people.
Pottery – Body of the Tower
The main body of the structure is more molded than sculpted, the way the curves evolve on the neck and complete themselves on the top are a reminder of Turkey’s pottery are, do represent the art of creating and open the object to different translations. The pot is a container of life, a protector of the valuables and a conservatory of the fragile. The walls of the pot are also the structure that holds it together as well as the insulation that protects it. The concept is that the body of the tower will not anymore be prisoner to the column and will break the conventional structure values by using an exoskeleton to hold and contain.
The body of ATC is the structure, the shape is it’s reality and it is what holds it together.
The architectural truth of the building is exactly what we see.
Loom – Skin of the Tower
The last element we decided to involve in the design is the detail of a loom. As a reference to the huge textile heritage of Turkey the woven skin is added to the object. Delicate horizontal louvers allow full visibility in the lower floors and open up where large public spaces exist. At the same time they protect from the direct sunlight. This transparent skin also generates a parallel effect that has to do with the reaction of the ATC in time. During day the tower is purely white with obvious delicate details protecting it from the sun, the onlooker cannot see inside the activity. During night time the internal illumination is expressed on the skin and the constant 24h activity of the Tower is ‘written’ on the skin. Positive and Negative unite on the façade.
Spirit of flying, body of molding and skin of expression are the three architectural metaphors that create this ‘container and protector of life’. It is clear to us that this project has to be unique; this is the flag that will be raised to symbolize the new, vibrant, global Turkey. As witnesses to this amazing transformation we aspire this building to be far more than an ATC Tower, we are designing thinking of a new symbol for this country, the pinnacle of the landmark airport and above all the “Welcome to Turkey” moment.
About RMJM Group
Founded by Sir Robert Matthew and Stirrat Johnson-Marshall in 1956, RMJM Group is one of the largest most geographically and culturally diverse architecture firms in the world. With studios across five continents and more than 2,000 architects who collectively represent 56 nationalities and speak more than 40 languages, the RMJM Group is a family of architecture studios who share knowledge, expertise and design talent, who work together to solve design problems and who are focused on consistently adding world class projects to an ever-expanding portfolio.
Whilst RMJM approaches its 60th anniversary in the UK in 2016, it is also proud to have had studios in the Middle East and the United States for more than 40 years and throughout Asia for more than 30 years. More recently RMJM Studios have been established in Africa and South & Central America.
The RMJM collective aims to build a strong and lasting presence and experience in each market it works in, in order to deliver the highest quality architecture in a global marketplace.
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