We'll meet some of Turkey's most famous architects, known for their iconic work and enduring influence.
The identity of Türkiye is closely related to its architecture. Tourists are mesmerized by the magnificent Blue Mosque with its beautiful dome (which took seven years to build), the Ottoman architecture throughout Sultanahmet's old town, and the stunning beach houses along the Bosphorus.
The country's most famous architect, also known as Sinan the Great Architect, is the most important name in Ottoman Turkish architecture. Mimar Sinan lived between 1490 and 1588, during which time he designed more than 250 of Turkey's most famous buildings, including mosques, palaces, harems, houses of worship, mausoleums and schools, during his 50-year prolific career .
One of his most famous works is the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul. Its design creates an illusion of grandeur, with interior surfaces bathed in sunlight and a central dome that appears almost weightless.
Sinan continues to have a major influence on the Turkish landscape today, but there are many other talented architects who have contributed to the country's design ethos.
The recently opened Adam and Eve Hotel in Antalya's Belek, considered the "sexiest hotel ever", was designed by Turkish national Ellen Taru. The architects opted for a minimalist palette but created a unique design through a series of colored lights, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a recessed sound system. The sleek design is the first thing guests see upon entering the dazzling atrium, which features a large bar with white ottomans and a ceiling adorned with thousands of hand-set glass mosaic fragments. Other rooms feature a more relaxed and simple design. More than 500 rooms are located in a block perpendicular to the shore. There are private villas, townhouses and studios in separate buildings. To provide views to the rooms, Talu planted an orchard of apple trees along the beach. Overall, it is Talu's sense of drama and detail that makes his work stand out among Turkish architecture.
Turkish architects are making a name for themselves in many major cities of the world. Global Architectural Development (GAD) is an award-winning firm based in Istanbul and New York, specializing in architectural practice, research and conceptual design since 1985. GAD, owned by Turk Gökhan Avcioglu, believes that contemporary architecture is influenced by software and consumer habits and behaviours. This means they approach each new project from a holistic perspective and develop innovative approaches to new designs.
GAD designs a wide range of assignments, from small private housing projects to urban masterplans. These architects are behind many prestigious public institutions, such as cultural centers, but also residential buildings, offices and hotels. The firm's work can be seen in Istanbul, Bodrum, New Jersey, New York City, Washington, Virginia, and Connecticut.
Istanbul-based architecture firm Salon Architects has recently unveiled designs for the Beylikdüzü Life Valley Bridges and Routes masterplan in Istanbul's Beylikdüzü district. Inspired by the idea of "Keeping the Valley Alive", the sustainable project envisages dividing the valley into six zones, each with a focal point and available facilities such as bike parking, rest areas and shade areas that will contribute to Define the identity of the valley.
The Life Valley Bridge is ideal for hikers to enjoy the valley without compromising the natural surroundings. The Wachbrücke's lights extend from its support system above the pavement, giving the impression of being suspended in mid-air. These projects should be completed by the end of 2016.
Vedat Ali Dalokay, born between 1927 and 1991, is a renowned architect and the mayor of Ankara. His most famous project is the Faisal Mosque in Pakistan. Famous throughout the world for its iconic shape resembling a Bedouin tent, it is a symbol of Islamabad. Dalokay has also created numerous award-winning projects in Turkey and remains one of the most prolific architects in his home country.
Similar to the friendliness of people, Turkish architecture is also designed to promote a sense of neighborhood. Istanbul and London-based AVCI Architects have designed Balance Gunesli, a new mixed-use tower in Istanbul that aims to contribute to the social environment.
It contains various types of offices as well as retail stores and residential units, hoping to become a new community center.
The main pedestrian zone invites users to feel more connected to the landscape, with public areas that encourage social interaction. By providing social activity and energy throughout the day, the area becomes safer for residents and visitors alike.
The architects also considered sustainability while harnessing solar energy, making the north facade more opaque by placing wooden sunshades in front of the glass, and layering the south facade with stone cladding. The garden on the upper level of the south façade ensures natural heating and ventilation as well as the continuity of the greenery.
Incorporating intricate designs in mosques is an unusual niche, but it has caught the attention of Turkish architects. Emre Arolat, who creates unexpected structures across Turkey, has been praised for replacing austere designs with more modern alternatives.
The Sancaklar Mosque on the outskirts of Istanbul is an unassuming, semi-submerged structure of rough-hewn masonry and dry stone. Instead of domes and minarets, or women praying in separate rooms behind the men, the Sancaklar Mosque blends seamlessly into the terrain. Inside, light filters through gaps and cracks in the outer walls, rather than the more traditional direct light. The usual layout of a main prayer hall with a smaller women's room behind it was replaced by two identical prayer rooms side by side.
Arolat's other works include Dalaman Airport, Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art, a textile factory in Edirne and numerous high-profile residential projects.
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