18 Feb 2016  |  World Architecture News

WAN Future Project Civic Building 2015 Winner Announced

by Ella Pilkington

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture’s awarded first place with their Istanbul Cultural Center 

It is a delight to deliver first prize for the WAN Future Project Civic Building Award 2015 to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture for their well considered and developed Istanbul Cultural Center – Congratulations!

The winner was chosen from six shortlisted projects, selected by our jury panel. This year’s panel included: Andrew Costa, Director for Ryder Architecture, Ian Bogle, Director at Bogle Architects, and Marta Pozo, Director at MVRD Asia.

After a very successful judging session, the panel came to the conclusion that Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture’s Istanbul Cultural Center, would take first place because of its complexity. Set in the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Metro network, a major tourist and leisure district, famed for its restaurants, shops, hotels and Taksim Square being the hub for political demonstrations. Not only do the existing features surrounding the building engage all ages, but the project offers an array of open and enclosed public space, flourishing creativity of the art form, with four world-class performance venues including a concert and opera hall, exhibition space and outdoor public performance amphitheatre. The amphitheatre will host all day public events and will act as an invitation to new artists, for Istanbul, Turkish, and or international artists. The culture centre thrives variability, not only in its use as a building but also the buildings surroundings, attracting tourists from all over the world. Ian certainly thought that, commenting: “people would go on a plane to see that”.     

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture have created an innovative design which will allow residents and visitors of Istanbul maximum accessibility; the new area restores the public park, offering ‘the walk’ - a fully accessible landscaped walkway, which links the Taksim Square and Taksim Gezi Park to a new elevated observation platform with incomparable views of the Marmara sea, making the project versatile for those that visit. The project’s diversity will “expand and open the connections between the cultural complex and its surroundings, transforming the building into a network of cultural programs, public indoor and outdoor spaces” commented Marta. Andrew added: “the challenge of the integration of functions worked well, it’s imaginative, the vision of it is really well balanced in terms of it having civic qualities, yet it has public access.”

Andrew commented on the architects: “straight forward and clear visualisations - producing a well-developed scheme, successful in achieving most, if not all, of the judging criteria. Ian approved of this, mentioning: “I think it comes across very well. The Istanbul Cultural Center seems as if it should have always been there due to its special quality in versatility.” Andrew agreed, stating that the project is “such a strong landscape integration where it’s able for two uses: for outdoor activities, one can just enjoy the park or visit the buildings equally.”

Congratulations to Adrian + Gordon Gill Architecture, and to our extensive judging panel. An enormous thank you to those who entered into the WAN Future Project Civic Building Award 2015.