WAN Future Projects Transport Award 2016 Winner Announced

13 Mar 2017

AECOM wins the WAN Future Projects Transport Awards with an ambitious concept for the world’s first pedestrian undersea tunnel, The Underwater Domes of Istanbul

We are delighted to announce Erik Behrens of AECOM and his Architectural Design Studio London as the winner of this year’s WAN Future Projects Transport Award 2016 for the spectacular Underwater Domes of Istanbul – congratulations!

The winning design was selected from a shortlist of six entries by an expert judging panel. This year’s jury, chosen for their experience in this category, were: Jennifer Marmon, founding partner of Platform for Architecture + Research, Barry Hughes, Vice President at HOK, Chris Wilkinson, principal and founder of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, and Grant Brooker, Head of Studio 1 at Foster + Partners. The jury praised the scope of all the shortlisted entries, but were particularly impressed by AECOM’s concept, which they thought was especially effective in its approach to a new pedestrian route and would result in an intriguing and inviting location to visit in its own right.

The location of this project inspired the central idea for AECOM’s design. Istanbul’s cityscape of domes is known worldwide for its scope and beauty, and combining this theme with the newly planned Pedestrian Subsea Tunnel between Kabatas and Uskudar created the potential for a new architectural wonder. Chris summed up the design as “a great idea, which has been beautifully executed and well thought through. A clear winner for me.” Barry agreed, saying: “The visualisations make the tunnel seem like a compelling place. It looks like somewhere I’d like to visit.”

The two kilometre long pedestrian tunnel will provide a strategic and environmentally sustainable new link for the city that will help promote walking and reduce road congestion. High-speed travellators will enhance movement on the upper pedestrian concourse deck, while an e-vehicle and bicycle route will be incorporated beneath. In addition to the practical elements of the design, AECOM have included innovative features that add significantly to the experience, which led Grant to comment: “I thought this project was very interesting, it’s about connections, but alongside this, it’s also an event.”

At the midpoint between Europe and Asia, the pedestrian concourse splits into two levels to create a compelling exhibition and dwelling space with a video projection wall – an opportunity to celebrate this important geographical and historic border point. Bringing excitement and a sense of adventure, the roof of the tunnel includes a series of features which reinterpret the traditional dome and add a contemporary feel to the space. This vault also includes an integrated artificial daylight system so that walking through the tunnel becomes a journey of discovery. Jennifer praised the “beautiful and inspiring spaces” encountered along the route.

The Underwater Domes of Istanbul promises to become a world-famous landmark structure for the city and a source of local pride. In considering the wider context of AECOM’s design, Grant said: “It starts to provoke thoughts about how we use the water, it’s interesting how you connect through it and under it. I think it starts a very important and very good conversation.”

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank not only the jury, but all who entered their projects into this year’s WAN Future Projects Transport Award.

Lucy Nordberg

Business Analyst Specialist

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