The New York-based architectural practice REX has realised this VAKKO Headquarters and Power Media Center by utilising an old incomplete concrete hotel structure and incorporating it into this 9,100-square-meters state-of-the-art headquarters for the Turkish fashion house Vakko and a media centre for Power, its media sister-company. Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, the lustrous, highly-expressive building is formed from two stacked volumes and encompasses offices, showrooms, conference rooms, auditorium, museum, and dining hall as well as the television studios, radio production facilities, and screening rooms.
From the architects:
‘When Caltech’s senior administration suddenly changed, REX’s design for the Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology was canceled. Two months later, the CEO of Vakko (Turkey’s pre-eminent fashion house) and Power Media (Turkey’s equivalent of MTV) approached REX with plans 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” (the so-called “Sheep”).
‘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 a six-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.’
‘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.’
‘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. The result is an ultra-thin sheath of glass that wraps the existing skeleton.’