The company contracted to build and operate the Istanbul New Airport, iGA, has launched an architectural competition to design an air traffic control tower. A total of six high-profile firms are shortlisted, including Zaha Hadid, with all but one inspired by symbols of Turkey.

Located just north of the ancient city, Istanbul New Airport is a massive project and once completed, will serve over 150 airlines flying to more than 350 destinations worldwide, with an estimated capacity of up to 200 million annual passengers.

Zaha Hadid's design draws inspiration from whirling dervishes, though is more sedate than this implies, while Moshe Safdie's elegant offering echoes Ottoman geometrical patterns. RMJM Architects draws inspiration from Istanbul's seagulls to produce a strange and bulbous design, and Massimiliano Fuksas aims to echo Istanbul's minarets, but arguably falls short.

Pininfarina + Aecom's tower resembles a tulip, while Grimshaw + Nordic's design breaks from the symbolic themes and aims to simply complement the airport's overall form (Grimshaw + Nordic are responsible for the airport's terminal complex design).

We've no word on when the competition's results are due to be decided other than "as soon as possible," but once complete, the air traffic control tower will rise to a height of 95 m (311 ft) and be constructed on a 5,000 sq m (53,819 sq ft) plot on the airport.

"We are developing a unique project inspired by the local architecture," says Yusuf Akçayoğlu, CEO of iGA. "That is why we have organized this contest, hoping that Airport Traffic Control Tower design would symbolically contribute great deal to Istanbul New Airport and also will be the most important figure of Istanbul."

Source: iGA via Arch Daily