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Flat office, Istanbul, Turkey

Monday 05 Sep 2011

The sweet smell of success

Flat office by MIMARLAR WORKSHOP in Istanbul, Turkey
Flat office by MIMARLAR WORKSHOP in Istanbul, Turkey Flat office by MIMARLAR WORKSHOP in Istanbul, Turkey Flat office by MIMARLAR WORKSHOP in Istanbul, Turkey Flat office by MIMARLAR WORKSHOP in Istanbul, Turkey Flat office by MIMARLAR WORKSHOP in Istanbul, Turkey Flat office by MIMARLAR WORKSHOP in Istanbul, Turkey
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Mimarlar workshop create a vertical garden of Magnolias along the facade of a large office 

At the heights of Eyup a very old district of Istanbul, by the Golden Horn, lies a very dense area of housing, businesses and retail.

The characteristic of the area is that it belongs to the famous peninsula of ancient city, just outside ramparts. At the neighbouring area towards the east stand city walls from 1500 years ago. Towards to the west close to this area is famous Pierre Loti hill. Overlooking the ancient cemetery and the mosque; on the other side is the residence of orthodox Patrick.

Unfortunately the area developed into a poor condition of urban design within the last 60 years. It lost its characteristic buildings, structure and texture. Large scale offices, warehouses and retail buildings are scattered among housing which were built without regulations and in an accidental manner during the last decades. While the traditional texture was deteriorating, green hills, beautiful woods and gardens of the area also disappeared. Traditional parks of Golden Horn are invaded by the mostly haphazard concrete buildings.

The new owner of the building wanted it to function as office and retail. The client wanted a distinctive facade for the renovated building. The building dominates the view of the south bank and is visible while crossing the bridge over Golden Horn, affecting the view very much. Due to the location of the building total population of Istanbul notices it while crossing this bridge. The existing building with a monotonous glass facade and a disturbing large sign was not suitable to the historical district.

The challenge was to come out with a façade which will be silent and modest near the quarter of Istanbul and still be distinctive and outstanding. The idea of vertical gardens was decided on to bring back the lost green of the Golden Horn. The architects covered the glass facade with transparent white film in order to let the sun and spectacular view of the Golden Horn thru the trees to the office employers.


The building of which we redesigned the facade was 30 years old, once a warehouse but later functioned as studios for a well-known television channel for several years. Magnolias (Magnolia Grandifolora “galliensis”tige) were used as “the tree” for the facade. It is the noble tree that was planted in many gardens of the Ottoman palacesand mansions. Furthermore this tree is an evergreen, can be trimmed easily and in the right climate in Istanbul, although the main facade looks north. Adaption of the magnolia is effortless with root inspection pruning and leaf pruning, so it can live in a container. Magnolias are 300-320 cm. high, diameters of the trunks are about 25-30 cm. and the containers are 110 clt.

Drainage and watering systems turned out to be simple. The budget of the project was quite low. Magnolia is a perfect specimen of urban tree, in terms of air pollution maintainability. Eventually when the vertical garden-facade of the monotonous building took for, the neighbourhood bonneted from its oxygen supply with the wonderful scent of the blooming magnolias at spring time. The magnolias blossomed first on spring of 2009. Now the area is famous with its delicately smelling magnolias for the spring months.

Reinventing Cities

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