Ataturk Cultural Center
Ataturk Cultural Center:
The Ataturk Cultural Center overlooking Taksim Square on the European side of Istanbul is preparing to host the first artistic performances on October 29, the 98th anniversary of the day the founding of the modern Turkish Republic was declared by Ataturk and his companions in 1923. Construction work is nearing completion within the "Ataturk Cultural Center" project located in the middle of Taksim Square in the European side of Istanbul, which is expected to be inaugurated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the 98th anniversary of the Turkish Republic Day, which falls on October 29. It is reported that the foundation stone of the new center was laid on February 10, 2019, with the participation of President Erdogan on the ruins of the “Old Ataturk Cultural Center” building, which was built in 1969 and retired in 2008, and demolition work began in 2018 to make room for the new center of the same name. . The new Ataturk Cultural Center, which cost more than 162 million dollars to establish, is one of the largest and most important arts and culture centers in Istanbul as well as in Turkey, and is expected to compete with major international centers, theaters and opera houses upon its opening.
The building, which overlooks Taksim Square, was designed using eco-friendly green architecture methods and standards, with its main façade designed to allow in natural light during the day. The design process of the new Atatürk Cultural Center was supervised by the Turkish architect, Murat Tabanlıoğlu, the son of the architect Hayati Tabanlı, who was entrusted by the Ministry of Public Works in 1956 to complete the construction work that stopped due to lack of funds, and who completed its construction in 1969. The new building maintained its external appearance, very similar to the previous building, but its interior design witnessed a radical change, starting with the huge red dome inside, through the lighting and acoustics systems, to the design of the opera house, theaters, halls, and internal corridors. The new center was built with a total area of more than 95,000 square meters and was designed to host works of art such as opera, ballet performances, theatre, painting exhibitions, cinema, symphony groups, and classical music, as well as international festivals and conferences.
New building facilities:
The new center consists of 5 parts, the most important and largest of which is the opera hall, which has a total area of about 48,705 square meters and consists of 4 basements and a ground floor in addition to 9 floors and can accommodate 2,40 people. The opera hall is also surmounted by a huge dome, in the construction of which about 15,000 red ceramic pieces were made especially for this purpose, which can be seen from outside the building thanks to the use of transparent glass in the front facade of the building. The center also includes a theater with an area of 16,228 square meters, and it consists of 4 basements and a ground floor in addition to 5 floors, and it can accommodate 805 people. In addition to the opera hall and the grand theater, the center includes a conference hall that can accommodate 1,000 people, a movie theater that can accommodate 285 people, a small training theater that can accommodate 250 people, in addition to an exhibition hall, a library, and a parking lot that can accommodate 885 cars. The center includes the "Alley of Culture", which will host an art gallery, a restaurant, a café, a children's art center, and a music platform.
History of the old center:
In the middle of 1946, the two Turkish architects, Feridun Kip and Rakan Güni proposed building a cultural center in the heart of Istanbul worthy of the young Turkish Republic and contributing to the cultural and musical renaissance within civilized Turkey. However, the lack of funding prevented the realization of this project, and work stopped in 1953. In 1956, the Turkish Ministry of Public Works began to revive the project again by the architect Hayati Tabanlıoğlu, and its construction was completed and inaugurated on April 12, 1969. However, after less than 19 months, specifically on November 27, 1970, part of the building was burned during the performance of Arthur Miller's play (The Crucible), the Turkish version, and with it were burned antiquities and historical clothing belonging to the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, as well as a valuable Qur'an that was brought from a museum. Topkapi was to be used for Murat's play. The center reopened in 1978 after 8 and a half years of repair and restoration work following the fire and continued to host theatrical and musical performances and conferences until 2008. The old center was closed for more than 10 years, and in February 2018 it was demolished to make room for the construction of the new center, whose construction work is nearing completion at the end of this month.