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VAKKO FASHION CENTER
Istanbul, Turkey

KEY AWARDS AIA New York Honor Award, 2015; ArchDaily’s 2010 Office Building of the Year; Wallpaper* magazine’s Design Award 2011 for Best Workspace; ICON magazine’s Award 2011 for the World’s Coolest Office
CLIENTS Vakko and Power Media
PROGRAM Headquarters for a Turkish fashion house—including offices, showrooms, conference rooms, auditorium, museum, and dining hall—as well as the television studios, radio production facilities, and screening rooms of its media sister-company
AREA 5,400 m² (58,000 sf) and 3,700 m² (40,000 sf)
COST Confidential
STATUS Commenced 2009; completed 2010
ARCHITECT REX
PERSONNEL Erez Ella, Tomas Janka, Mathias Madaus, David Menicovich, Tsuyoshi Nakamoto, Joshua Ramus, Ishtiaq Rafiuddin, Tieliu Wu
CONSULTANTS ARTE, Autoban, Buro Statik, Cedetas, Dora, Eleksis, Front, Gurmen Muhendislik, Lamglas, Norm Tecnic, Say Yapi, STEP, Superpool, Cem Mimarlik

VAKKO FASHION CENTER
Istanbul, Turkey

KEY AWARDS AIA New York Honor Award, 2015; ArchDaily‘s 2010 Office Building of the Year; Wallpaper* magazine’s Design Award 2011 for Best Workspace; ICON magazine’s Award 2011 for the World’s Coolest Office
CLIENTS Vakko and Power Media
PROGRAM Headquarters for a Turkish fashion house—including offices, showrooms, conference rooms, auditorium, museum, and dining hall—as well as the television studios, radio production facilities, and screening rooms of its media sister-company
AREA 5,400 m² (58,000 sf) and 3,700 m² (40,000 sf)
COST Confidential
STATUS Commenced 2009; completed 2010
ARCHITECT REX
PERSONNEL Erez Ella, Tomas Janka, Mathias Madaus, David Menicovich, Tsuyoshi Nakamoto, Joshua Ramus, Ishtiaq Rafiuddin, Tieliu Wu
CONSULTANTS ARTE, Autoban, Buro Statik, Cedetas, Dora, Eleksis, Front, Gurmen Muhendislik, Lamglas, Norm Tecnic, Say Yapi, STEP, Superpool, Cem Mimarlik

When Caltech’s senior administration suddenly changed, REX’s design for the Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology was canceled.

Several years later, the CEO of Vakko (Turkey’s pre-eminent fashion house) and Power Media (Turkey’s equivalent of MTV) wanted to design and construct a new headquarters by the year’s end using an unfinished, abandoned hotel. The requested timetable would normally have been absurd. However, the unfinished building fortuitously had the same plan dimension, floor-to-floor height, and servicing concept as the Annenberg Center’s ‘Ring.’

By adapting the Construction Documents produced for the Annenberg Center to the abandoned concrete hotel skeleton, construction on the perimeter office block commenced only four days after Vakko/Power first approached REX. This adaptive re-use opened an eight-week window during which the more unique portions of the program could be designed simultaneous to construction. Speed became the design’s most significant parameter.

Whereas the Annenberg Center’s Ring was a fragile, post-tensioned concrete structure which depended upon the robust, steel interior for support, Vakko/Power’s existing Ring is painfully over-designed, the byproduct of numerous, deadly earthquakes in Turkey.

The design problem is therefore reversed: Vakko/Power’s unique interior must remain detached so as not to disrupt the structural integrity and waterproofing of the in situ skeleton. Dubbed the Showcase, this unique interior houses the auditorium, showrooms, meeting rooms, and executive offices, as well as all vertical circulation and restrooms.

Meanwhile, the upper floor of the skeleton’s subterranean parking houses Power Media’s television and radio studios, which require acoustic damping and light control.

REX only had two weeks to submit the steel mill order after starting the project. Therefore, a concept for the Showcase was developed that established the general steel shapes and quantities while still allowing the design to evolve significantly.

To this end, REX and its engineers devised steel boxes that could be assembled in myriad configurations while retaining the Showcase’s structural self-sufficiency.

To this end, REX and its engineers devised steel boxes that could be assembled in myriad configurations while retaining the Showcase’s structural self-sufficiency.

Ultimately, program adjacencies and code/exiting requirements dictated the final stacking of the boxes.

Ultimately, program adjacencies and code/exiting requirements dictated the final stacking of the boxes.

The slopes of the auditorium, showrooms, and meeting rooms create a circulation path that winds from bottom to top of the Showcase.

The slopes of the auditorium, showrooms, and meeting rooms create a circulation path that winds from bottom to top of the Showcase.

The slopes of the auditorium, showrooms, and meeting rooms create a circulation path that winds from bottom to top of the Showcase.

The Showcase is clad in mirror-glass, enlivening the building’s interior to kaleidoscopic effect.

The Showcase is clad in mirror-glass, enlivening the building’s interior to kaleidoscopic effect.

On the exterior, the mirror-glass provides a mirage-like cloak for the Showcase.

A beautiful and refined architectural image was critical to maintaining Vakko/Power’s public profile; yet the clumsy structure of the abandoned hotel was impossible to hide given the project’s compressed schedule. REX embraced this constraint by designing an exceptionally transparent and thin glass façade for the Ring.

By slumping a structural X into each pane, the glass’s strength is increased, its need for perimeter mullions is eliminated, and its thickness is reduced.

By slumping a structural X into each pane, the glass’s strength is increased, its need for perimeter mullions is eliminated, and its thickness is reduced.

The result is an ultra-thin sheath of glass that wraps the existing skeleton. This ethereal “Saran Wrap” subtly reveals the pre-existing concrete skeleton and suggests the Showcase behind.

Power Media Center

Vakko library

Vakko museum

Auditorium box

Entry

Ring offices

Showroom box

Meeting Room box

Roof terrace

Executive Offices box

Hyper transparency opens the headquarters to the city.

Image Credits: 1, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33: Iwan Baan; 2, 10: Luxigon

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