The new Borusan Music and Art Center in the historic neighborhood of Beyoglu, Istanbul is a multi-purpose space for exhibitions, events, rehearsals and various cultural training programs. This new cultural center symbolizes the cultural and artistic renaissance presently occurring throughout the city, while also preserving the architectural legacy of Istanbul.
GAD’s design preserves and restores the historic shell of the existing building, which is typical of the facades along the famous Istiklal Caddesi. The building core has been completely removed, expressing an empty void. In a clever move, GAD inserted a contrasting contemporary ‘box’ within the core. The ‘box’ is designed using a lightweight steel diagrid frame system along its perimeter. This strategy allows for an open floor plan, and offers programmatic flexibility between all the floors. The inserted ‘box’ seems to defy gravity as it responds to, and is framed by, the historic masonry shell. The architectural symbiosis of the two contrasting construction methods and materials activates a playful tension between the past and present.
The main entrance to the six story building is from Istiklal Street. There is a secondary entrance from the intersecting Piremeci Street. The ground floor is linked to the street visually by large glass windows, reminiscent of the shop’s previous glass display. The transparency on the façade allows the visitor to preview the action inside. The visitors enter the building through an oversized glass door. The building is elevated slightly, and old marble stairs are punctuated by two steel columns that support the facade. The ground and first floors serve as exhibition spaces, and also have maximum flexibility for events. The concert halls on the second and third floors are two-storey atriums, housing up to 100 people. The second floor is used primarily for rehearsals and concerts. The audience is able to listen and observe live performance from the second and third floors.
There are six individual rehearsal rooms on the fourth floor. The fifth floor is used for multi-purpose events. On the sixth floor, the building opens up to views of the Bosphorus. This space will be used as a café and bar. There is another level above the café & bar used as terrace. As there is no elevator access to the upper level, visitors use a staircase to reach this level. There are services next to the fire escape stairs on each floor.
Art: There are several significant art pieces that attract our attention. These pieces are integrated with the building, as if they were constructed at the same time. The most outstanding installation consists of tube LED’s illuminating the V-columns. This instillation is called “Untitled”, designed by Leo Villareal in 2008.
On the entrance floor, Edison light bulbs rise up and down simultaneously with the on-going music. This piece is called “Elo (Spiderlights)”, designed by Christian Partos in 2009. Three doors (red, yellow and blue), attract the visitor’s attention, thru the illusion of an infinite passage thru the building. The doors are also used as an entrance to the installation called “Shortcuts”, designed by Ivan Navarro. Neon words break out from the wall, and say: “Listen to your eyes”. This is also the name of the piece which is designed by Maurizio Nanucci in 2008. A glass and mirror pyramid on the floor creates many different visions, depending on the angle of view. This piece is called “Ad Infinitum”, designed by Brigitte Kovanz in 2007.
Main Construction: The new structure inserted inside the historic box, is both a diagrid steel pipe system and an I-profile system. These steel tubes take the shape of a V and an inverted V. At the intersection of the columns and the floor, there are white pebbles.
Façade: The formal logic of the facade was to keep the historic façade in its simplest form. The window openings were originally covered with a single-pain glass system, and the municipality requested a more historical reference for the façade. Therefore, mullions were added to the front façade. The side façade remains without mullions. The windows are fixed and may not be opened. Ventilation is maintained through artificial air conditioning.
Walls: Walls are clad according to the acoustic calculations. The front façade allows some of the bricks to be exposed, creating an interplay between the historic and the new. Some of the walls are clad with acoustic drywall. The other walls are concrete. Partitions at the stairs are made with glass separators.
Floors: Acoustic calculations led to floors to be designed with wood parquet and concrete. There are intersecting tubes going through the concrete floor. Those tubes enable the use of electricity from most of the spaces.
Piano Lift: Piano can be moved through the ground floor and 2nd floor.
Elevator: The transparent elevator punctuates the building dramatically.
Stairs: The stairs are perforated cast iron, and emphasize the lightness of the building. Glass is used on the holes of the stairs. This lets the light reflect and refract at different angles. There is a skylight on the stairs.
Doors: The desire for transparency yields glass doors.
Insulation: Since the building is used as a music and art house, there are several approaches to sound insulation. In order to prevent sound reflection, heavyweight curtains are hung in front of glass separators.
Pera is a district which is formed by the destruction of Galata ramparts and the city’s expansion the North. Its boundaries are legible, and the main axis is called Istiklal Caddesi (Grand Rue de Pera),and is the highest line of the district which is formed by the hillsides of Halic and Marmara. Beyoglu’s history has been redeveloping throughout the years. The building is on a street which was turned into a pedestrian way. GAD forms a new restoration and renovation language specific for this building. It tries to form a relation between the historic and the new. While preserving the old building it also attracts different types of people for a common event: music and art. The experience that GAD had before with Esma Sultan and Mulkiyeliler Social Center evolves to a new level. While conserving the facade, a new structure is inserted into the building, and this provides new functions to the building. Connections between music, art, craftsman and space form a relationship through this building.
“Borusan’s entrance into the often complex and challenging world of establishing orchestras was based on its vision of helping to bring polyphonic music to a wider audience of Turkish people. The foundation for the now renowned Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIFO) was set in place with the creation of the Borusan Chamber Orchestra in 1993. This group rapidly grew in both number of musicians and quality of musical performance, so much so that it became a symphonic orchestra in 1999. That same year the illustrious Gürer Aykal was appointed as the General Music Director and Permanent Conductor of the Orchestra. On the memorable night of May 13, 1999, at the Yildiz Palace Silahhane Building on the European side of Istanbul, the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra performed its first concert. Under the leadership of Gürer Aykal BIFO was restructured and soon began offering concerts on the Anatolian side of the city as well. By the end of 1999, BIFO was performing two concerts per month, one on each side of the Bosphorus, at the Lütfi Kırdar Concert Hall on the European side and at the Kadiköy People’s Education Center on the Asian side, thereby quickly becoming a true city orchestra. This pattern continues until today, totaling twenty-four concerts per year, with performances on the Anatolian side now being held at the Caddebostan Cultural Center.
Over the years, the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra has introduced music lovers in Istanbul to some of the world’s foremost musicians. The Orchestra had the privilege of performing with virtuosos such as Maxim Vengerov, Vadim Gluzman, Dimitris Sgouros, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, Alexander Rudin, Suna Kan, Idil Biret, Fazıl Say, Ayşegül Sarıca, Meral Güneyman, Ayla Erduran, Verda Erman, Gülsin Onay, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, George Zamphir, Olga Kern, Corey Cerovsek, Stanislav Ioudenitch, Tomohiro Okumura, Wolfgang Boettcher and Dino Saluzzi. Celebrated guest conductors who have led the Orchestra include Igor Oistrak, Emil Tabakov, Giuseppe Lanzetta, Fabiano Monica, Alain Paris and Ender Sakpınar. In addition, BIFO has also been accompanied by the Wiener Singverein, one of the world’s leading choirs. One of the most popular traditions in its short history is Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual “New Year Celebration” concerts. Held in December of every year, these highly anticipated performances are known for bringing cheer and goodwill to Istanbul during the festive season.
The future of the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra is beyond brilliant. BIFO, as a source of great pride and joy to Turkish people everywhere, particularly to Istanbul’s educated and cultural elite, will continue to serve as a bridge between the people of Turkey and the best of polyphonic music under the baton of Sascha Goetzel, its newly appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. The days ahead will see Borusan carry on its tradition of linking music lovers with some of the world’s top virtuosos, at the highest international standards in the arts, all in keeping with Borusan’s rich heritage of excellence.” 1Architecture team: Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Designer: GAD – Gökhan Avcıoğlu
Team: Ozan Ertuğ, Barış Uçar, Ayhan Ürgüplü, Arzu Meyvacı, Yeliz Özsoy, Melis Eyüboğlu, Bora Soykut, Gözde Nur Demir, Serkan Cedetaş, Ertuğrul Morçöl Project Name: Borusan Music and Art House District: Beyoglu – Istiklal Avenue
Use: Rehearsal and Performance Center for Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra and Art Exhibition Space
Site Area: 230 m2
Bldg. Area: 230 m2
Gross Floor Area: 1900 m2
Building Coverage Ratio: %100
Building Scale: 7 Stories above Ground, 1 Story below Ground
Max. Height: 26,5 m
Landscape Area: 0 m2
Parking Lots: None
Exterior Finish: Exterior is an historical façade
Completion Period: 2007 – 2009 Photography: Ozlem Avcioglu