International architecture company RMJM today announced details of the $1 billion Varyap Meridian development it is designing in Istanbul’s new residential and business district, which will be one of the "greenest" projects in Turkey.
The luxury 372,000-square-meter development on a site totalling 107,000 square meters will be located in the Atasehir district of Istanbul, which the Turkish government intends to transform into the country’s new financial district and business center.
Set on a highly visible site that features panoramic views stretching from the Bosphorus Strait in the west to the Princes’ Islands and the Sea of Marmara to the south, the 372,000-square-meter project for Turkish real estate development company Varyap, part of Varlibas Group International, includes a 60-story tower, 1,500 residential units, a five-star hotel, offices and conference facilities with landscaped public areas, and parking facilities. The project, which is expected to serve 20,000 people, is scheduled to be completed in 2011.
The RMJM design team intends to create an iconic complex that takes an innovative approach to planning and sustainability. The development is designed to achieve the LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and, as such, would be the first sustainable mixed-use development of its kind in Turkey.
The designers carefully analyzed the local site conditions and embraced the topography, climate, and surrounding context to maximize the site’s natural potential and inform building orientation and landscaping. This also ensured panoramic views beyond the site, while minimizing solar heat gain to the building facades.
Active ‘green’ design features include rainwater collection sites and facilities to optimize water usage and reduce energy consumption, wind turbine technology, cooling water pools that enhance the external landscape, and a co-generation plant that will produce electricity for the development. The unique context and culture of Istanbul is incorporated into the design, including a spectral tiled facade, ranging from terra cotta to blue to white.
“We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to create a landmark community in Istanbul’s up-and-coming financial district,” said Chris Jones, RMJM design principal who leads RMJM’s new Istanbul office. “RMJM’s design not only addresses Istanbul’s culture, climate, architectural heritage, and cosmopolitan attitude, but also sets a new standard for sustainable design for Turkey. Sustainable design is no longer a trend but a necessity and our client VARYAP embraced the idea from the start.”
M. Erdinç Varlibas, CEO of Varyap, said: “Our aim is to ensure that we leave a better world to future generations and we believe that the Varyap Meridian project will raise the standards of the Turkish real estate market generally. The unique design reflects our cultural heritage as well as a true consciousness of the environment, which we strive for in all our projects.”
In addition to creating a new business center, the Varyap Meridian project offers new types of housing that will bring value to the community. The residential section features 1,500 flats of 450 different types, ranging from studios to five-bedroom penthouse apartments.
The Atasehir district is to become Istanbul’s new financial center – potentially surpassing the existing financial center in the Levent district of the city. Development of Atasehir, which is located on the “Asian side” of the city, was jump-started in 2007 when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructed the corporate headquarters of several banks to relocate from Ankara to Istanbul in an effort to create more synergy and advance the financial sector. The banks of Ziraat Bankasý, Halkbank, and Vakýfbank are all expected to relocate from Ankara, as are the Turkish Central Bank, Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), and Capital Markets Board (SPK).
From a transportation standpoint, Atasehir is ideal for development, as it is located at the intersection of Sabiha Gökçen Airport and Istanbul's new subway projects, and at the intersection of the two main roads between Istanbul and Ankara. The Mass Housing Administration (TOKÝ) is directing the planning of the center.