Sabiha Gokcen International Airport Terminal

  • Sabiha Gokcen International Airport Terminal

Istanbul, Turkey



Built Area
265.500 m2 (2,857,818.21 sqf)


Competition Entry

Apart from its practical and economic norms and those related to modern technology, due to its role as a gateway to and from a metropolis like Istanbul, the Sabiha Gökçen Airport International Flights Terminal was treated as a very heavy and important cultural responsibility. An important consideration was that due to the many activities, fairs, exhibitions, performances, and conventions that take place in different areas, the city has become the center of the region and an alluring destination. Emphasizing the importance of the building’s cultural and commercial value, and not solely its function as a terminal, places such as restaurants and hotels were designed as centers of attraction to be used in everyday life by the neighborhood. These places, which were designed with a fluid conception, the empty spaces that allowed daylight to reach different levels inside, the galleried arrangement of the bridge connections which form the gateway to the city, and the interior landscape all enabled the structure to escape the standardness of customary terminal buildings and acquire a memorable sensitivity

The building was designed taking into consideration the way the existing terminal buildings right next to it would establish a relationship, in terms of mass, with the architecture of the building, which was shaped by the repetition of broad vaults. After assessing to what extent the existing masses could be repeated, and evaluating contrasting options such as harmony and opposition, dissociation and articulation, the new mass was designed as a “topography-structure”, showing a categorical difference and leaving the existing fabric as is. It was intended that the mass, which was to enter the field of vision when approaching the airport head-on, would appear as a piece of hand-made topography. The long pier, which allowed the greatest possible number of bridges to be installed, and the terminal and multistory car park blocks of similar width that are attached to this pier were brought together thanks to a “cover” formed by a reinforced concrete framed system. Thanks to the program inputs of the building below and their massiveness, this cover slightly breaks in places and allows daylight to filter into the interior through narrow linear splits, and practically renders invisible the giant structure. The layer that forms a landscape on top of the cover was developed as a design that didn’t need continuous upkeep and it is expected that grass will grow on and cover certain areas. In this way the aim was that the cover would become blurred over time and gradually become one with nature.

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