Air Traffic Control Tower
Federal Aviation Administration
Thornton Tomasetti, JB&B, BJD, Connico
Control Towers possess a modernist romanticism, exalting the innocent wonder of progress and the quiet dignity of well-functioning equipment. Like Epcot and the Concorde, I.M. Pei’s iconic design—which has been ubiquitous at airports across the country since he won an FAA-sponsored competition in 1962—perfectly captured that era’s spirit. In 2021, PAU led the team that submitted the winning entry in an open design competition that the FAA couched as the sequel to that midcentury contest. Towers will be built at an initial set of 31 candidate airports across the country.
PAU’s design addresses the paradox of the next generation of towers: how to reinterpret Pei’s magic while acknowledging that the future is far less certain than the luminaries of yesteryear thought it to be—both in terms of technology and the health of our planet. The result is a strategy born of today’s exigencies: lyrical in its economy of materials; heroic in its respect for fiscal and environmental costs; and elemental in its ability to be adapted and reconfigured to meet the needs of a multitude of sites across the nation.Read More