Location: Antalya / Turkey 

Architectural Project & Design: Gokhan Avcioglu & GAD 

Project Team: Nesime Onel, Mustafa Kemal Kayis, Goksen Gungor, Esra Esen, Durak Arikan, Semih Acar, Mert Turkozu, Yucel Demir, Osman Sumer, Yıldız Gergun

Building Type: Residential, Interior

Construction Area: 28.000 m2 

Project Site Area: 33.000 m2 

Year: 2017

Status: Ongoing 

Photographer: Ali Bekman


2016 The Plan Awards, Honorable Mention for the AHK KNDU Villas 

2015 Sign of the City Awards Premium Project, The Greenest Building Under Construction

2015 European Property Awards Residential Development for Turkey for The AHK KNDU Villas, International Property Awards



The stretch of land along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast that forms the modern city of Antalya has a long history of being a multicultural seaport.  Though not formally organized as a true city until around 150 BC, the area was occupied and under the authority of great societies like the Hittites and Persians for nearly 2,000 years beforehand.  As Alexander the Great moved east against the Persians and towards India, his armies took all of Anatolia, beginning the heavy and long standing Greek influence in Antalya.  After Alexander’s death, his empire was notoriously divided amongst his four generals, leading to the establishment of the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor.  One of the rulers from Pergamon’s Attalid Dynasty, King Attalus II, saw promise in the area and formally settled the city--hence it being named Attaleia in his honor--and making it the main base for his navy.   Soon, the city was absorbed into the Roman Republic as part of their governed region Pamphylia. 
Under Roman rule, the city prospered and grew in significance as a port, both militarily and commercially.  In addition to passengers, among them early Christian missionaries like Paul of Tarsus, loads of cotton, spices, fruit, and olive oil frequently left the Antalyan ports heading out to Cyprus, Eygpt, Greek and Italian islands, and other Mediterranean ports.  This activity remained constant over the next 2,000 years, despite many changes in the ruling authority; the Romans evolved into the Byzantines, who were defeated by the Seljuk Turks, who were content to give control to the local Teke tribesmen, who were supplanted by the Ottomans and their governors, who relegated supervision to more local chiefs, until the Italians were granted the lands after the First World War, but only for four years when the area was reunited in 1923 into the Turkish Republic where it has stayed ever since.  It was in the 1970s, though, that Antalya saw true modern large scale development, leading to even more cultural interest and growth in agricultural, tourism, and commercial sectors.    Over 10 million tourists now visit Antalya every year, some looking to see ancient ruins like Hadrian’s Gate, Aphrodisias, or the Aspendos Theater, some to see the Seljuk fluted minaret, often considered the iconic image of the city, while some are interested in shopping at one of the upscale shopping malls.  Antalya is also home to the annual Turkish Film Industry Awards, the Akdeniz University with more than 60,000 students, a 33,000 capacity football stadium, and many fabulous beaches to enjoy the year-round beautiful, sunny weather.  It is easy to understand why it is called the "Turkish Riviera”.



In addition to the over 10 million tourists, Antalya’s metropolitan area is inhabited by approximately 2 million permanent residents.  Together, they represent a great diversity of cultures and backgrounds.  Traces of the civilizations who previously prospered in Antalya can still be found in the streets and cafes, including Greek, Italian, Jewish, Kurdish, Arabic, German, and Russian.  Whether resident or tourist, the Antalyan lifestyle offers the same appeal.  Days in Antalya are pleasant, relaxed, and full of warmth and the aroma of citrus, particularly oranges. 
As the commercial and tourist industries continue to grow, homes close to the historic downtown area are being replaced by hotels.  Some longtime residents who saw opportunities in the market as well as those looking for a community offering both a strong sense of togetherness and tranquility were in need of an alternative.  That alternative is AHK KNDU Villas.   
This award winning project, designed by GAD for AHK  Development, Construction Fitout FF&E Solutions , is an impressive residential development in Antalya. It includes four large, twenty two medium, and twelve small residential units. Each unit has its own car park and is linked to public transport via specially designed underground connections.  In application for the prestigious BREEAM Certification, the project combines sustainable design and build principles by sourcing only locally available materials, low waste, low pollution, and offers communal green spaces for circulation and recreation.  In addition the north-south orientation maximizes the use of sunlight as each dwelling is fitted with photo-voltaic panels that produce energy. Carefully positioned openings take advantage of the natural daylight, increase privacy and also aid in cross ventilation and a reduction in energy consumption levels. The form and exterior timber cladding acts as a shell that regulates climatic conditions, defines the boundaries of each unit and improves interior lighting. The use of stone coupled with timber brings an element of spirituality and sophistication to the design.  The warm organic colors communicate a message of timelessness, this together with the varying textures, patterns and temperatures evoke emotions brought forth via memories. The project skillfully combines modern living with nature, where the gardens and green spaces merge into the living environment. This is especially evident in the living room where the large windows look out onto the patio and infinity edge pool.  The water with its reflective properties aids the sense of a continuation of space and eliminates the boundaries of the green space.


At the southern façade of each housing unit a greenhouse has been implemented into the design.  This recreational space is intended to provide a sheltered outside space as an additional feature to the existing structure.  It can be used as a conservatory in the winter months or as a greenhouse in the summer.


The strategic orientation of the site enables the south facing roof to be fitted with Photovoltaic panels, used to produce renewable energy.  The energy created will greatly aid in reducing energy consumption of each unit.


The clerestory window aids in the passive ventilation of the unit allowing fresh air to be drawn in and expelled at roof level.  The position of the window allows daylight to enter without the effects of solar gains. The clımate inside the buıldıng is controlled with natural sustainable design principles.


The East and West facades of the building are glazed, the North and south facades are protected with timber cladding.  This element acts as a second façade and shell for the design, it protects the structure and helps to articulate the exterior form of the building.‘Sustainability beyond Green’ is a concept used throughout this project. From energy producing technology, rainwater reservoirs, to a form that improves internal climatic conditions without the need to use artificial ventilation systems.  The green areas allow the users to connect individually to the environment taking them back to a style of living based on our vernacular past where the land can be worked for a return. ‘The Art of Survival’ is a concept that has formed part of the landscape design, where manicured garden systems have been avoided and the promotion of native plant species have been at the forefront of the gardening scheme.  Native tree species such as the Turkish Pine and Oak have been strategically added to the green scheme since their near extinction in Antalya.  In addition native species of grass and aquatic plants have been considered to the greater site plan, which includes the river, to host a variety of organisms and promote the natural species diversity and ecology.  The banks of the river are to include a tiered dock to allow amphibious species access to and from the water as well as being able to deal with fluctuations of the river water level.  Furthermore bee farm proposals have also been included in the landscape design.  The aim of these farms is to help the residents reconnect with their environment, learn the importance of nature and the whole ecosystem and overcome fears distilled in them.  The rewards for this effort will be two types of organic honey; wild flower and pine honey, a delicious and rare honey local to the region. Future plans to extend the current design include four more clusters of villas within the same area; linked to each other via pedestrian routes and a system of underground parking that is planned to be connected to local transportation systems.  The greater site plan includes varied interconnected green spaces, and extension of the river into the site plan and a reclaimed lake.The design team have intricately considered a ‘sustainist’ approach to the evolution of the design.  This not only incorporates beyond green but also social design elements.


From functional to form with meaning; preservation, protection, safety, shelter are the key meanings behind the form. Co-design practice from the start by the combined input from the client and the future occupiers of the villas which has been interpreted by GAD into a unique design.


Interconnected rather than individual units, creates a design in context that is suited to the locality. The interdependent villas create a sequence that molds relationships between the occupants. The aim is to define each villa as a separate living area with free circulation around it. The sharing of the circulation space and intangible things encourages the occupants to bond and interact with each other based on the situation. This sustainist approach treats elements of sustainability as a lever for social change.There are fifteen different Villa types on the site.  Residents can choose to live in luxury in homes ranging from 601,06 m2 to 975,50 m2.  When looking for quality outdoor activities or bonding with the neighbors, residents can venture out to have a picnic near one of the waterside communal spaces the site has to offer.  And for even more organized or formal events and activities, in the near future residents will be able to use the adjacent Aksu River to make their way to the upcoming Beachside Social Club, located directly on the Mediterranean waterfront.