YKKS : YAPI KREDI CULTURE & ARTS
The project lot is at the midway of the 1.5 km long commercial and touristic axis developed in the late 19th century western city plans of Istanbul (Istiklal Street). It is located where the street breaks and forms a small square at Galatasaray. Recently completed cultural center, now embraces the square designed by Istanbul-based architecture studio : TEGET
The building lot has housed two earlier buildings one after another, first one an apartment (late 19th century) and second an office building by German architect Paul Schmitthenner (1958). Schmitthenner’s project created an arcade at the street level wrapping the two facades. It broke the interior – exterior split between the glass storefronts and the street with its void. By ad-hoc piling of programs and transformation in its uses, the arcade space was enclosed to house more interior spaces for bookshops and banks, some of the upper floors were transformed into art galleries in time.
The lot is one of the rare corners along Istiklal axis today with two sides facing both the commercial promenade and a square. The initial brief was to build a new edifice with similar cultural uses inside a novel shell. The design proposal objects the task of demolition and dwells a new edifice within the existing exterior walls of Schmitthenner’s building.
This is a deliberate move to keep the connection to an influential fragment of the collective memory of Istiklal axis and Istanbul which has been under severe transformation being rebuilt from scratch.
The project keeps strong ties to the collective memory of the city while applying major architectural conversions to certain patterns. The proposed stacking of programs shifts the horizontal organization of public space and the linear alignment of commercial storefronts of the main street to a vertical path of movement in the carved out gallery space. The new building preserves the existing shell yet interprets the arcade as a vertical promenade at the facade looking Galatasaray square.
The building once again breaks the interior – exterior divide with a void, this time it opens up the arts and cultural uses with transparency to the outer square and the city. As a generic building it enhances the legibility of the square with the vertical public promenade, the upstanding public lantern. By this, the new design generates the give and take relation between the building and the city.