The Ghalemorghi Airport, the first airport established in Iran, was opened in 1922 on 300 hectares of land in the south of Tehran and the first ever flight in Iran took place from this airport. When Tehran municipality decided to demolish the walls of this military airport in order to change its function to a public space and theme park, a competition was announced for designing the main entry gate of the project. The aim of this new gate by Ali Ghorbani, Ali Kashfi and Hosein Shirazian is to create a space to establish a strong link with the park away from the traffic and chaos of the nearby highways. This new gate has to correspond to the scale and atmosphere of the park. More images and project description after the break.
One of the important aspects of the design is to establish a strong metaphor with the new emerging Iranian architecture and, at the same time, correspond to current design and architecture in the 21st century. In this sense the project has been defined in terms of its distribution of program based on two main points: first is to define the entry gate and its position as a space next to the highway, which not only invites and attracts people and passersby, but also stands as a monument to represent the city of Tehran and the project itself. Secondly, this gate must be harmonious with what goes on behind it in the theme park,so that when confronted with the space, people would pause and relax before entering the park. Except the VIP, cars would not be allowed to pass through the gate, as it is mainly contributed to the pedestrian.
In the process of designing, we have tried to use the site and its characteristics to guide the design towards the right direction and establish areas of program based on the main functions of the project. The initial concept is divided into three categories: inspiration, main concept, and development. The vastness of the park, its flatness, the entertaining aspects of the project, and the fact that the site used to be an airport,outlined the main points of the project. All these can be summarized into two key words: Huge and Light.
The enormity of the project would define the entrance as an emblem of the urban space, and would invite the passersby to enter the park. Ghalemorghi was the first airport in Tehran, hence a historical monument.Thereby, the concept of aviation has to be visible in all stages of the design. This idea takes form in glass floor placed right under the gate displaying a model of the city of Tehran, where the pedestrian can walk on and observe the model from the top, just as one may observe a city from a plane.
Furthermore,this is a form that follows the wing of a plane as a concept of lightness. The old hangars on the site (which will be turned into museums of aviation for the public) were a great source of inspiration for us. One of these century old hangars displays a wooden, soft and light essence, which reflects the spirit of turning the former military airport into a theme park. In other words, the solid military structure of the historical site has melted over time into a soft and light space much in harmony with the civic space. The materiality of the new gate, which takes inspiration from the material of the former airport hangars, uses steel with a dense wooden structure, which also resembles the geometry and forms of traditional Iranian architecture.
The entrance form is a triangulated huge fold, lifted up from the ground. The folded figure resembles pieces such as the wing of an aircraft. The wooden grid plays with the penetrating light and shadow that creates a light effect and makes the entrance a pleasant space for the visitors wondering around. At the same time, the glass floor creates a sensational sense of flying.