Grimshaw Architects win competition to design Koç Contemporary in Istanbul

News from Istanbul - Istanbul Biennale and winning design of Koç Contemporary Museum

Entrance area of the future Koç Contemporary museum by Grimshaw Architects. Courtesy of Grimshaw Architects

Grimshaw Architects. Koç Contemporary

Istanbul is in the focus of political newscoverage these days with the anty-government protests around the Gezi Park. Soon it will also be in the center of the artworld’s attention. From 14 September – 10 November 2013, the 13th edition of the Istanbul Biennale is to take place.

The exhibition is curated by Fulya Erdemci, curator of the Turkish Pavillion at the 54th Venice Biennale. The title of the Biennale will be ‘MOM, AM I BARBARIAN?’, in reference to a work by the poet Lale Müldür. It will place a special focus on the potential for public spaces to become political forums.

Erdemci explained that the theme of the Biennale sought to encourage debate centred upon contemporary democratic practice and current political models, and to place a focus on the important role which art might play in this dialogue. The curator added that art has the ability to act as a voice for underrepresented or excluded voices, and has a unique capacity to counter dominant political forces.

The artistic direction of the Istanbul Biennale is to be undertaken by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, artistic director of DOCUMENTA (13), the artist Ayşe Erkmen, among others.

After a competitive selection process Grimshaw announced that it has been selected by the Vehbi Koç Foundation to design Koç Contemporary, a new contemporary art museum in Istanbul.

The Vehbi Koç Foundation organised a competition for a design of the new home for the growing Koç collection, and thus makes an extraordinary and sustained contribution to the cultural and social life of Istanbul and Turkey.

The Museum is due to be open to the public in 2016. Grimshaw’s winning proposal was selected from a long-list of 20 world-renowned entries. The site for Koç Contemporary is situated in the Beyoglu area of Istanbul, which is undergoing rapid redevelopment and fast becoming one of the most dynamic districts in Europe.

Grimshaw’s design will create a building which is an extension of this vibrant public realm where the boundary between inside and out is blurred and where passing pedestrians are tempted through exciting public spaces, which are rich in activity and surprise. The creation of Koç Contemporary will result in a landmark building entirely derived from its context with the mosaic tiled forms of traditional Ottoman architecture providing the inspiration for the design’s materials concept. Grimshaw’s design will embrace the collection in all its diversity; its works on paper, paintings, video, media installations, performance art and music events are integral to the design of the visitor spaces.

Inner view of the Koç Contemporary museum by Grimshaw Architects. Courtesy of Grimshaw Architects

Koç Contemporary. Courtesy of Grimshaw Architects