Gallery Extension in Istanbul

gallery extension in istanbul

introverted box


Project Type_Gallery Extension
Size_1350 sqm
School_Virginia Tech

The thesis questions the idea of identity and memory of the place, while trying to create an architectural ‘object’, that has strong ties to the region, and more balanced environment between human and his surrounding.

Site Plan


The site is at periphery of Taksim square, which is sociologically and physically the most important public square in Turkey. It is adjacent to an old water reservoir (Maksem), which has recently transformed into an art gallery. Because some portion of the structure was demolished throughout the time, it exists as an autonomous object in Taksim square. The site is currently used as a parking lot and storage area for nearby construction projects, and surrounded by pedestrian paths, which all lead to Istiklal Street (busiest street in Istanbul)




The building manifests itself as an introverted object, where two opposite conditions (nothing and everything) coexists outside and inside. The courtyards emphasizes the idea of introversion as you walk through different gallery spaces. The compactness and density of the building generates a sense of physical heaviness, which is an important perception of a building in the region. The circulation is connected with the existing gallery on the second floor to create a complete loop of circulation for the exhibitions.

Ground Floor Plan

1st Floor Plan

2nd Floor Plan


As you move into the building, you get disconnected from the street and experience the threshold or the buffer zone in a form of a narrow passages and a courtyard. The museum is accessible from three different street levels. Every entrance is a different passage, which has a specific atmosphere that is affiliated with a particular experiential memory of the city. The quietness of the building exterior creates a sense of tranquility in the physical context.

Longitudinal Section

Transversal Section

In a time of hyper-consumption of information and social values, architectural discourse has started to become obsessed with the speed of change and information over experience. So called “International Style” in contemporary Architecture has become the most valued and over-defined subject in the field of design. The architectural connection with the place, region and society is reduced to historical references with modernist fragments and some formalist behaviors.

Gallery Space

Urban Balcony

Architecture has to manifest itself as a resistance to the reductive change of creativity and undifferentiated architectural objects as a part of globalization. The importance of place, region and memory of the society should be comprehended by architects. The obsession of creating one, unified, undifferentiated society disconnects and dislocates the memory and identity of the society from its roots. Regionalism in architecture should go beyond any sort of stylistic conventions or fake images; it should confront us to the realities of the time, place and society.



Architectural ideas should be rooted and embodied within the region, belonging or tied to a specific time and place. A physical or cultural context inhabits a variety of prominent connections and values, which needs a honest analysis and sensitivity without an overly protective and sentimental attitude. If architecture grows out from an ‘idea’ or a ‘concept’, it should blossom its flower from the ‘identity’ and ‘memory’ of the place. The realities of the physical or cultural context have to be comprehended by valuing the existential experience more than the shallow information.

Study Models

1/250 Physical Model