The new AKM, was designed by Tabanlıoğlu Architecture as an urban model both in terms of business logic and architecture. Determining the border of the Taksim Square- hosting the most intense urban movement of Istanbul and Turkey – as the previous AKM building did, the new project adds a new route into daily and cultural life; in the direction of Gezi Park, the axis is formed by the combination of arts and culture units articulated to the main building, constituting integrity with the main structure, the Opera House.
With reference to mass scale, proportions and facade design of the previous AKM, the main Opera House is developed in the height limits of the former building, with additional structures situated efficiently ensuring the conditions for the relevant functions and intensive public use.
The cultural center, designed as a 21st century cultural structure with the idea of reviving the Taksim Square, evolves in two joint fragments. The first is the main opera stage, which is located in lieu the former Ataturk Cultural Center and preserves its symbolic and urban memory. The second component is the new structure that articulated along Mete Street and extends towards Ataturk Library and Istanbul Technical University forming a culture lane, which brings together the social, artistic and cultural performance units and secondary functions that will stimulate the urban flow.artistic and cultural performance units and secondary functions that will stimulate the urban flow.
One of the main units forming the annex, the theater hall with a capacity of 804 people is a cornerstones of the culture street. In the basement floors, there are workshops, dye-house, tailor studio, storage, and also the backstage with multiple and single greenrooms, close by the stage level.
All units arranged in a horizontal hierarchy and connected to the main building, reaching directly to the city by a natural orientation. The cultural axis, determined by the borders of the individual spaces, is easily accessible from street level, and connects the two piazzas, one is in front of the main Opera House and other formed at the other end, before Atatürk Library.
The cultural complex establishes a system which the city naturally passes through and each citizen becomes and feels a part of it. As transitional spaces resulted from the association of the new units that provide direct pedestrian access to the complex via different elevations and directions, also with the direction of the topography and the landscape.
The whole structure, that contemplates the main building in an architectural, urban and functional context, is not only a performance center, but is considered together with accessible public spaces that live every hour of the day with alternative spaces intertwined within the city and its activities.
Since the volume of the former AKM is assigned to the main function, performances other than opera and ballet are comprised in the additional structure annexed in the new design. In this manner, the audience capacity of the opera house increased, the building and performance standards raised to the highest level. In the new project, the main opera hall – with its red colored outer shell- fills the void created by clearing of the foyers of the 1969 and 1978 designs, where opera and ballet performances, and musicals take place.
Including the construction of the red sphere in which special three dimensional steel elements are used, steel solutions were preferred in the structural system of the building especially in areas with wide openings.
The orchestral space, which is one of the most important elements of opera performance, has expanded and the acoustics have reached optimum values. The main opera hall has a capacity of 2040 audiences with its parterre and two balconies. The grand hall is of high quality in terms of its completely natural acoustic qualification and measurement values with an average frequency of 1.6 in terms of sound and reverberation time, in other words, at the standards of qualified opera houses in the world. The main hall is also supported with electroacoustic to be used in events such as musicals, concerts, and conferences when necessary. Retractable platforms, and back of the house, that respond to contemporary needs technically and programmatically, are designed with both digital and mechanical supports.
The parterre foyer on the ground floor and the balcony foyers on the upper floors are connected to each other with specially designed stairs. Beyond that, being one of the trademarks of the former AKM, the iconic spiral staircase included in the design of new foyers. Beyond being one of the trademarks of the former AKM building, iconic spiral staircase – integrated with specially designed lighting element- is an aesthetic object as well as a functional, where arts and craft, the functional and the visual are blended in together. Reconstructed with an additional step, the spiral staircase connects the entrance foyer to the upper level. Elevators are used as a vertical access alternative.
While preserving the mass-facade perception, a system is established with fin columns combined with steel, where the glass acts as the main carrier with today’s technology. Thus, a clear visual connection of AKM interiors with Taksim Square so that an unobstructed relationship is established. Methods and techniques that increased construction capacity, and opportunities in the material production of today’s industry – including the alternative uses of glass – made the facade become even clearer and more transparent. Hence, the red sphere can be perceived thru the facade openly and contact the Taksim Square as a strong image emphasizing the presence of the Opera House.
Like referencing the ceramics designed by Sadi Diren, in order to be loyal to the original design elements in material choices, details of stairs and railings were transferred to the new project and adopted as an architectural tool to regenerate the collective memory. The Art Gallery, designed as a comprehensive steel cantilever box, can be reached from Taksim Square, by going one floor up. It is located at the junction of the main building and the annex, providing a semi-protected piazza beneath it. The box office is designed as glass boxes under the main Art Gallery; having a digital infrastructure and a sufficient number of units, the piazza with seating features grants a meeting space in front of it.
Except for the private section reserved for artists and employees, this sector connects to the multi-storey car park at the basement floors of B-C-D-E blocks, open to use of visitors and the public, with a capacity of 432 vehicles.
The terrace restaurant is open to the Bosphorus view and can be reached by an individual elevator from the halls. Benefiting the view at its best, the restaurant is expected to serve as an intermediate area before the plays and also to provide financial support for building management. In addition to the spaces open to the audience and visitors, the new AKM includes the artist rooms, rehearsal halls and the efficiency of the offices to be used by the employees of the institution, as well as the elements of being inviting and open to users from all walks of life, in harmony with the city. As a multi-layered urban element, the new AKM was put into service as of October 29, 2021, with the most efficient up-to-date facilities, venue design, equipment, infrastructure and technological features, with the potential to host the most sophisticated international opera and ballet performances and well-established art institutions in its own home.
Architectural and Interior Design: Tabanlıoğlu Architects
Client: TR Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Main Contractor: Sembol İnşaat, Yeni Yapı İnşaat
Mechanical Project: Ekotasarım Danışmanlık
Static Project: Balkar
Electrical Project: HB Teknik
Facade Consultant: Werner Sobek İstanbul
Acoustic Stage and Professional Systems Consultant: Desmus Mimarlık, Ada
Acoustic, Media Consultants Gmbh
Infrastructure Consultant: Sigal Mühendislik
Lighting Consultant: Zeve Mühendislik, Lıcht Lıcht Studıo Dinnebier
Fire Consultant: Etik Mühendislik
Traffic Consultant: Hartek Harita
Geotechnical Consultant: Geo-Dynamix Geoteknik Tasarım
Landscape Project: DS Mimarlık
Kitchen Consultant: Mas Turistik İşletmeleri
Ceramic Design and Consultant: Alexandra Khuen Belasi
Location: Beyoğlu, Istanbul
Building Date: 2021
Total Construction Area: 95.065 sqm
Photos: Emre Dörter
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR FACADE COVERINGS
INTERIOR FLOOR COVERINGS
PLATINIUM BEIGE MARBLE
FRONT AND BACK SQUARE FLOOR COVERINGS
KÜLTÜR STREET FLOOR COVERINGS