Lots of shopping malls have water features. But few compare, in size and potential drawing power, with WaterGarden, a giant mall that opened in the Atasehir district of Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this year.
This 165,000-sm (1.78-million-sf) complex, which focuses on gastronomy and entertainment, has 49,000 sm of leasable space for more than 150 independent retail units. But what really stands out is its 5,000-sm exterior “show pool” that is this project’s “visual and functional center,” according to its interior designer, Gorkem Volkan Design Studio (GVDS). T Concept was WaterGarden’s architect.
This is Europe’s largest show pool within what the complex’s developer, Ziylan Gayimenkul, calls a “living center.” The pool, which Germany-based OASE constructed, stages a variety of events and performances accompanied by a choreography of water, music, lasers, and fire. The pool is surrounded by the complex’s Gastronomy Center, which consists of restaurants, bistros, cafeterias and food court that feature unique foods and flavors from Turkish and world cuisines.
WaterGarden Istanbul includes a variety of eating places that offer Turkish and world cuisines. Image: Courtesy Gorkem Volkan Design Studio
There’s a “Nostalgia Street,” which offers brands of food and drink from throughout Turkey that have been around for more than 50 years. An Organic Market sells fresh produce, and is designed to connect to the mall’s botanical garden.
The complex has 15,000 sm of open space that encompasses City Park, designed by DS Architecture, with a rope track, an adventure park, a skate park, and children’s park. WaterGarden Istanbul also includes an 11-screen cinema, an “event arena” with a 4,000-person capacity, a theater hall, a school of culinary arts, a sports center, and children’s playground and crèche.
Real Estate News Turkey reported last year that WaterGarden Istanbul is targeting 15 million visitors per year, and expects to contribute the equivalent of $300 million to Turkey’s economy annually. The complex is located next to the International Finance Center, and is drawing customers from a primary market with more than 1 million residents.