In Istanbul, A Vision in Architecture

People / Places / Products / April 26, 2013

Now under construction, the  Zorlu Center in Istanbul combines wide public spaces and grand buildings, including a 3,050-seat performance center.  One hundred and seventeen Turkish and international architecture firms, including Arquitectonica from Miami and Switzerland’s Mario Botta, competed for the center’s design.  Rizzoli has published a book called A Vision in Architecture: Projects for the Istanbul Zorlu Center, and we recently interviewed its author, Suha Ozkan, via email:

What is the Zorlu Group?

The Zorlu Group is one of the largest industrial groups in durable household goods and electronics in Turkey. They were involved in banking. In 2005 they sold their bank (Denizbank) and with the resulting capital (3 billion U.S.) they went into real estate development.

Where is the Zorlu Center to be located?

The Zorlu Center overlooks the Bosporus, in the center of the northern central business district of Istanbul.

What is the vision for the center?

It is mixed-use development on a valuable but inaccessible and unused site. The vision is to bring to Istanbul a new and very active suburban center.

What was the purpose of the design competition?

The purpose of the design competition was to benefit from creativity of the international architecture and urban design talent.

Who were the 13 finalists and why were they chosen?

Each finalist is a chapter in the book, where five international, five Turkish and three mixed, collaborating consortia were invited. The selection was by a group of senior architects and planners who were advisors.

Why is Istanbul important for the future of Asia and Europe?

Istanbul connects two continents and is gaining momentum as the Turkish economy grows in leaps and bounds, while the rest of the world is in depression.

What is the intent of this book?

The intent of the book is to display the serious process of an international search for the project procurement.

Its inspiration?

I was approached by senior executive Didem Yanaray to document the process and projects for the international media.  Rizzoli helped us to realize that in this
book.

The challenges in pulling it together?

It was a very smooth process of writing on the existing contributions. The mainchallenge was to treat each and every project fairly at equal bases and depth.

For more information, go to http://www.rizzoliusa.com/book.php?isbn=9780847838547

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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