SO – IL, studio: indigenous, Höweler + Yoon, Snow Kreilich, and Marlon Blackwell shortlisted to design new Columbus, Indiana air traffic control tower

On the heels of the opening of the fourth iteration of Exhibit Columbus, the Indiana city bursting with fine examples of modernist architecture has announced the shortlist of architects vying to design a new landmark at the canonical city’s municipal airport. SO – IL, studio: indigenous, Höweler + Yoon, Snow Kreilich Architects, and Marlon Blackwell Architects have been shortlisted to design a new, 100-foot-tall air traffic control tower for the small airport located three miles north of the city. The project is supported by a grant from the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program and funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Indiana Department of Transportation, and the City of Columbus.

“The Columbus Air Traffic Control Tower has been a staple since the military base of the 1940s, but it is in dire need of replacement to provide quality service to tenants and transient aircraft,” said Brian Payne, Columbus Municipal Airport director. “This is a special opportunity for the airport to contribute to Columbus’ history and create a unique structure that adds to the beautiful landscape of our community,” Payne continued in a press release.

The Columbus Municipal Airport is Indiana’s fourth busiest aviation center. In the past seven years, total operations at the Columbus Municipal Airport have risen by 40 percent. In 2022, the Airport reported over 55,000 aviation operations alone. With Woolpert, an international engineering firm, the architect will help replace the airport’s existing 80-year-old tower with a new, $11.5 million upgraded structured that meets regulations set by FAA Air Traffic Control Tower standards, including sighting, backup cooling and power, security, fire and life safety, and FAA equipment.

“We are excited about this unique opportunity to contribute to Columbus’ wonderful architectural history and heritage,” said Jim Schacht, vice president of corporate responsibility for Cummins Inc. and CEO of the Cummins Foundation. “The new tower will serve as yet another example of our community’s continuing commitment to innovation, art, and design.”

Previously, the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program has supported the construction of a new building for Ivy Tech Community College at the AirPark Columbus College Campus completed this year. The competition winner for the new aviation control tower will be announced in the following months.

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