Istanbul Modern by Renzo Piano Building Workshop - Photo by Cemal Emdem.

Istanbul Modern by Renzo Piano Building Workshop – Photo by Cemal Emdem.

Architecture – The new Istanbul Modern, Renzo Piano’s first project in Turkey, resembles the shape of a ship and was inspired by the glittering waters of the Bosphorus and its reflections of light. The 10,500 square meters building is composed of three stacked volumes reflecting the waterfront. The façade is made by a sequence of 3-D-formed aluminum panels that play with the changing sunlight, creating a shimmering, iridescent envelope evocative of fish scales.

Istanbul Modern by Renzo Piano Building Workshop - Photo by Cemal Emdem.

Photo by Cemal Emdem.

The museum provides a purpose-built space for a dynamic range of temporary exhibitions, interdisciplinary educational programs, film screenings, and an extensive, publicly accessible art collection. Spanning the period from 1945 to the present, the collection features works by international artists who reflect Turkey’s artistic creativity and have played an active role in the global transformation of art.

Istanbul Modern by Renzo Piano Building Workshop - Photo by Cemal Emdem.

Photo by Cemal Emdem.

A glazed fence around the ground floor ensures a secure environment where the public can enjoy an outdoor café and a sculpture garden. Inside, a grand central stair connects all the public levels: from the cinema below ground to the galleries at the upper levels. The landing lobbies on each floor allow a visual connection to the sea and park, piercing the building volume along a north-south axis.

Istanbul Modern by Renzo Piano Building Workshop - Photo by Cemal Emdem.

Photo by Cemal Emdem.

Level 1 is home to the photo and pop-up galleries, the multipurpose rooms, and the staff offices. The Istanbul Modern restaurant is along the south façade offering a breathtaking view of the Bosphorus from an external terrace.

Level 2 has the same visual connection to the sea and park through the lobby axis; this leads the visitor to the permanent and temporary art galleries, which host 3,300 sqm of exhibition space. Both galleries are open and flexible with a concrete column structure that defines the industrial character of the space, set out on an 8.4m x 8.4m grid carried from the car parking levels below ground.

Istanbul Modern by Renzo Piano Building Workshop - Photo by Cemal Emdem.

Photo by Meltem Sar.

A stair from level 2 gives access to a roof-top viewing deck of 450 sqm. This covered terrace floats above a shallow water plane covering the entire rooftop creating a visual continuity with the Bosphorus.

  • All photos by Istanbul Modern by Cemal Emdem and Meltem Sar – Courtesy of Istanbul Modern and Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
Istanbul Modern by Renzo Piano Building Workshop - Photo by Meltem Sar.

Photo by Meltem Sar.