Flying Carpet in the Desert

  • contemporary architecture

Architectural workshop “Studio 44” has come up with a concept for Ashkhabad's new international airport that is supposed to be build 35 kilometers away from the capital of Turkmenistan.


The project is based on Turkmen ethnical national patterns – eight-pointed star of Oguz-Khan and “goelis” (the basic structural elements of Turcoman rugs). The flying carpet image was the first thing that came to the architects’ minds once they started working on this airport project. One can hardly dispute the fact that this “fairy-tale” mode of transportation as best as possible mirrors both function of the object and perhaps the most famous “currency” of Turkmenistan, its world-renowned luxurious and expensive carpets. Now it was only a matter of deciding how to spin this in the image of the new airport. The most obvious solution, of course, would have been just to “lay” the rug on the area in front of the passenger terminal or even to stylistically recreate the goelis in between the runways. The architects, however, chose a more complex and a more sophisticated way which was to use the bright carpet cloth image as the roofing of the main building of the airport. The roof indeed looks like a giant multicolored rug that is waving in the scorching-hot wind – the architects gave it a prominent undulated shape, thanks to which the roof bears a lot of resemblance with the fairy-tale flying carpet. Technically, in effect, it is a multi-layered shell that reliably protects the passengers from the scorching sunshine. The central part of the goelis is solar panels, which, according to the architects’ plan, will ensure smooth operation of air conditioning systems, while on the perimeter the “carpet” is supported by metal supports branching at the top. In front of the airport building, there is a capacious underground parking; on its roof the architects placed a shallow but spacious swimming-pool, the bottom of which is decorated with yet another type of ethnic patterns. Each side of the pool sports a set of fountains, while on the opposite side, some distance away from the main building, the architects decided to build the VIP terminal meant to receive top officials. This smaller structure has the shape of a transparent crescent and has a fountain in front of it as well. In conclusion, it is also worth mentioning that both terminals are “inscribed” into the eight-pointed star that, in turn, with surgical precision is placed between the two runways on the sides. The points of this complex shape are also decorated with patters that are due to be created with the help of green planting.
Text by: Nikita Yavein, Anna Martovitskaya

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