Timeout Magazine


Amid recent debates on Istanbul's urban development, much has been said about the architectural mediocrity of current constructions in Istanbul. However, let's not forget that the city is home to some architectural gems. Santiago Brusadin and Antoine Remise guide us to unique buildings that deserve our attention.

In the last 10 years or so. Istanbul's urban panorama has been reshaped by high residential towers and imposing commercial centers. This Turkish version of late modern architecture is commonly blamed for producing buildings that are monotonous, blocky and lacking personality. It is true that the large majority of the city's recent buildings can hardly be distinguished from one another."There is a kind of standardization about the whole process that makes the architecture very average, a kind of commercial modernist tone." says Gokhan Karakus. designer at Emedya design. architecture critic and curator of several design exhibitions in Istanbul.

Architecture is a creative and a social art. As such, it involves not only architects but also real estate developers, investment groups, engineers and clients. It also has to abide by some government regulations and engineering conventions. Therefore, in order to make meaningful architecture, it is necessary to arouse each stakeholder's interest. Unfortunately in Istanbul people buying apartments and renting offices do not seem to care so much about what the buildings look like. "For them, what is important is that the buildings operates properly, that they have heating and noise doesn't come through, that it’s clean and everything works'. Karakus explains.

Nevertheless, despite the general tendency, a few innovative projects have seen the light of day. These architectural exceptions can be classified in three categories: modem architecture, restoration projects and international collaborations.

Some recent projects have successful applied the principles of modern architecture by creating structures with character, mthe past. Turkish architects such as Sedad Hakki Badem or Hayati Tabanlioglu have added their touch to modem architecture. However, the modernist legacy is not considered important by the present administration and many of its buildings are under threat of demolition. Here is a kind of modem buildings we Iike.


The Beşiktaş Fish Market

Besiktas local market covers a large area and throughout the day the place overflows with residents and visitors who buy fresh fish and other commodities. The deterioration of the old fish market structure required a reconstruction and in 2009 the Beşiktaş Municipality and the local tradesmen worked together to revitalize the premises.

The project manipulates the site's triangular morphology by proposing a simple but Iconic concrete and steel structure whose shape covers the entire site but leaves large openings at street level. These drooping edges allow a column-free open Interior that optimizes and transforms the space into a covered pubic square. According to GAO. the architectural practice that designed the market, the space ’mimics a piece of cloth lifted from the comers.

The extenor walls are covered with small ceramic tiles, visually similar to fish scales. Unfortunately, this Intentional visual reference is sometimes hidden by the mountains of fishmonger boxes and gears.

Another interesting feature of the project is the lighting; from the roof a cascade of tow hanging, exposed bulbs make a clever reference to the traditional lighting found at many fish markets m Istanbul.

This space, unlike many-other new commercial spaces of the city, doesn't turn its back on the city but promotes local commerce and social interaction thus contributing to Iho lively scene in the neighborhood

Address: Sinanpasa Mahallesi/ Mumcu Bakkal Sokak. 34353 Beşiktaş

Mon-Son 08.00 ■ 21.00.

Istanbul Naval Museum

We could have considered the Naval Museum as a restoration project but it is more correct to say that a completely new museum has been designed Indeed, the 2.500 square meters historical bulling now covers an area of 13.000 square meters. Located in Besiktaş, the Sea Museum

Is one of the very few modern buildings to stand on the 30 km long Bosporus coast.

Due to the large scale of the artifacts displayed of the museums and wooden bars. The bars facades are covered in glass, offering a direct view on the river. From the Bosporus, the museum gives the impression that the old kayaks are about to be put to sea.

Ataturk Cultural Canter

Located in Taksim. AKM (Ataturk Kultur Merkezi) is an iconic multi-purpose cultural center and a symbol of Turkey s modernization. The Ataturk Cultural Center had several designs, the construction was interrupted several times and different architects worked on the project.