NEW AKM PROJECT

A planned new Atatürk Cultural Center will become "one of major centers of Istanbul", said architect Murat Tabanlıoğlu on Monday.

"This culture street will be an area that people can spend 365 days at, read books, drink coffee, and attend plays all at the same time. This will be one of the major lively centers of Istanbul," he told Anadolu Agency.

The current Atatürk Cultural Center, built in 1946, is aging and growing dysfunctional, Tabanlıoğlu added. He also touted details of the new center.

"The new opera house to be built as part of the new project will have a 2,500-person capacity. It will be one of the largest opera houses” in the world, he said.

“Opera houses’ natural acoustics are very important. Thus, it will be one of the best opera houses acoustically. At the same time, it will have a concert hall with a 500-person capacity plus theatre halls, art galleries, and libraries along with cafes and restaurants.

"Most importantly, it will be a complex that can be used all 365 days of the year. This is very important,” he said, adding that the old center was only open for special events.

A new annex to the center will have a conference hall with a 1,000-person capacity, a 285-seat movie theatre, and a parking lot for 885 vehicles.

The Atatürk Cultural Center was first designed as a theater building by French architect Auguste Perret and built in 1946.

The building suffered major damage in fire in 1970, and it reopened in 1977.

Turkey registered the center as an “urban protected area” in 1993, and in 1999 it was declared a protected cultural landmark. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also announced on Monday that Istanbul’s Taksim Square would become entirely pedestrian, which would stop traffic from reaching the Atatürk Cultural Center.

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