WAF 2016 – Contemporary reading rooms under multi-domed roofs and monolithic black-glass boxes preserving ancient manuscripts. Tabanlıoğlu Architects embarked the restoration of Beyazıt Public Library, one of Istanbul most prominent libraries. The project won the Culture Award at World Architecture Festival 2016.
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“The ‘minimal intervention’ approach ensures the spirit of the place survives while modern facilities are grafted onto the historic fabric. The project aims further for environmental betterment, and urban regeneration of the public realm” say founding partners Murat Tabanlıoğlu and Melkan Gürsel to ArchiPanic.
First founded in 1884, the State Library building faces Beyazıt Square in a historic neighbourhood in the European side of Istanbul. The building is part of a monumental complex that includes also the Beyazıt Mosque, the oldest surviving imperial mosque.
The front façade of the library backs the monumental plane tree under which is the traditional open air coffee shop serving since the Ottoman times. The flow through the building was modified in order to best serve its modern function with the main entrance now through the courtyard.
The updating and fine-tuning of the State Library involved the sensitive re-organisation of the interior and a careful restoration of the building fabric with its prominent multi-domed roof.
In place of the former concrete roof, Tabanlioglu Architects installed a light and transparent inflatable membrane structure which covers the courtyard, filtering the daylight and providing a controlled atmosphere.
In the renovated shell of the building, the black glass boxes devoted to the manuscripts, stand as a monolithic object of awe that are of a stark contrast to their surroundings.
Lighting Design by studio Dinnebier, echoes the spatial and historical qualities of the complex, introducing geometries in harmony with its surroundings. Soft lighting at the edges of the raised floor follows the wall contours adding another layer of depth to the spaces.
A modest extension, respectful of the scale of the existing building, has been added to the northeast façade of the existing Library. Modern Turkish publications sit on the second floor and periodicals on the first.
The ground level houses the rare book collection, publications in the Ottoman era and other Ottoman, Arabic and Persian manuscripts that are now kept in air conditioned transparent cabins exclusively designed to fit in the intense atmosphere while preserving the legacy.
All photos by Emre Dörter, courtesy of Tabanlıoğlu Architects.