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Sisli HEA Cultural Center

Istanbul’s modernization projects are embodied in Şişli, a district that begun as Istanbul’s chic neighborhood in 1850’s. What started as a typology of mansions in gardens, then became European style apartments in 1920’s, and have in the last 150 years been renewed and replaced with the bigger and newer buildings, currently celebrating the future of Istanbul as the financial capital of its region.

There lacks however, a coherent strategy for Şişli’s urban outdoors. The project site for Halide Edip Adivar Cultural Center borders Darülaceze Caddesi, the immediate urban corridor below the ring road. To the north many public institutions neighbor Darulaceze Caddesi, but few of them have any urban street presence.

In this scattered tissue of public institutions, HEACC has the necessity to create a relationship to the street. At the same time, requested to become a 1,000-seat theater, the building has to have street access to the stage, stage loading dock and the lobbies in order to function well. The ground floor is the most valuable and functionally the most demanding zone.

We propose to use the balcony ramps of the auditorium to create ‘multiple ground floors.’ The auditorium is imagined not as a closed room within a volume, but as an extended series of surfaces that give the building its overall shape. Each extended balcony level leads to programmed space and its terrace; the exhibition hall, the music library, café and the bar that ensure liveliness of the building beyond scheduled shows or events.

Selva Gürdoğan, Gregers Tang Thomsen, Irene Guzman, Derya İyikul, Hande Karakaş, Marta Marszal, Matthias Poen

Kerem Piker, Deniz Gezgin, Yelta Köm

Type: Cultural Center
Size: 9.000 m2
Client: Şişli Municipality
Collaborators: Henrik Schulte
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Status: Settled