25 best architecture firms in Istanbul

25 best architecture firms in Istanbul

4 Apr 2022 News

Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city, as well as the country's economic and industrial center. Founded some 2700 years ago and formerly known as New Rome and, more recently, Constantinople, its buildings have historically been influenced by Byzantine, Genoese, Ottoman and Turkish ideas and construction methods. Istanbul is also a modern cultural center, home to a long list of designers and architects operating today. For this article, we chose 25 outstanding architecture and design studios based in Istanbul. The 25 firms presented here have been chosen for their role in defining Istanbul’s current architectural directions.  

 

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Sancaklar Mosque by Emre Arolat Architecture - © Cemal Emden

1. Emre Arolat Architecture
Emre Arolat Architecture was founded in 2004 by Emre Arolat and Gonca Paşolar. Among the largest architectural offices of Turkey, EAA also has offices in New York and London. The studio has completed a wide range of works from urban plans, to airports, residences, cultural buildings and workplaces. The practice has received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and nominations for the Mies van der Rohe Award, and has presented at the Venice Biennale. EAA seeks new ways to sculpt light and materials, and to minimize environmental impact by combining intellectual and artistic sensitivity tempered by tradition and culture.

 

 

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Hisvahan Hotel by GEO_ID - © Emre Dörter

2. GEO_ID
Geo_ID is an innovative, multifaceted studio providing an all-encompassing approach to interior design. With a team of young creatives from varying design fields, Geo_ID develops unique narratives to address topics from brand identity to designing harmonious interiors. Based in Istanbul, the studio boasts a portfolio of projects from Turkey and across the Middle East. Its projects range from hotels to boutiques and restaurants including the W Hotel Istanbul and the Maxx Royal Kemer Resort.

 

 

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Fish Market by Gad Architecture - Courtesy of Gad

3. Gad Architecture
Global Architectural Development has been a leader in research and concept design since 1994. The firm is headed by design principle Gokhan Avcioglu who works with a dedicated international staff of architects and collaborators. GAD believes that current architecture and urbanism are influenced by media, culture, technological innovations, consumer habits and how these factors affect the built environment at different scales. The firm’s main office is in Istanbul, and it also has satellite studios in New York, Bodrum, Kazan and Kiev. 

 

 

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Campus ICAM by L35 Architects - © K. Khalfi

4. L35 Architects
L35 is an international architecture firm with offices in cities ranging from Barcelona to Paris and São Paulo. L35 pursues excellence in architectural design from the perspective of creative diversity and freedom. Covering all typologies, its expertise is large retail and mixed-use projects. L35 has a portfolio of over 100 projects in twelve countries. Since 1967, the firm has based its design process on teamwork among designers and clients. L35 currently has 250 professionals that represent more than 30 nationalities, combining experience with youth and talent.

 

 

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Nowbomonti Office Tower by Tabanlioglu Architects - © Emre Dörter 

5. Tabanlioglu Architects
Tabanlioglu Architects develops innovative, efficient and economically viable designs that consider the uniqueness of place and program requirements. The practice focuses on the matters of building in global terms that derive from the local and regional. Tabanlioglu Architects advocates for transparent spaces as an extension of public zones in the urban context, aiming to motivate interaction and dynamism. Its project housEmotion for the 2018 Milan FuoriSalone featured a platform surrounded by semi-transparent rods to create an optical illusion for depth and openness.

 

 

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Bodrum Demirbuku Houses Club House by Erginoglu & Calislar - © Cemal Emden

6. Erginoglu & Calislar
Erginoğlu & Çalışlar Architects is an Istanbul based, independent firm of architects founded in 1993 by Hasan Çalışlar and Kerem Erginoğlu. The firm specializes in urban planning, architecture and interior design projects together with providing assistance for planning applications. The studio won the New and Old Award for its Salt Repository-Medina Turgul DDB Headquarters at the World Architecture Festival; it has also received National Architecture Awards, and 4th prize in the international competition for the Turkish Embassy in Berlin in 2007. Its project for the Tarsus American College considers proximity to the historic context to unify new and existing campuses both physically and perceptually. 

 

 

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Paradiso Palms Cocktail Bar by Slash Architects - © Alt Kat Architectural Photography

7. Slash Architects
Led by Şule Ertürk, slasharchitects is a group of design enthusiasts and professionals. The practice conducts diversified design work both nationally and internationally in the fields of architecture, urban design, interior architecture and furniture design. The studio addresses the world through compositional work that rethinks various typologies of architecture and establishes strong bonds among urban context, users and architecture. From conception to execution, architectural decisions are carefully scrutinized to meet the contextual challenges.

 

 

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Tropicana by YERce Architecture - © Yerce Art Photography - Emin Emrah Yerce

8. YERce Architecture
Yerce Architecture focuses on innovative, creative and experimental solutions in the fields of industrial design, interior design and architecture, operating out of offices in Istanbul and Munich. Its portfolio includes projects designed for clients in Asia and Europe. Its project for the Yatas Fair Stand, a temporary venue for the exhibition of furniture, received recognition including the FRAME Awards 2020 as well as award for Best Exhibition Space at the İsmob İstanbul Furniture Fair.

 

 

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Beylikdüzü Arts and Cultural Center by SO? Architecture & Ideas - © Yerçekim

9. SO? Architecture and Ideas
Founded in 2007 by Sevince Bayrak and Oral Goktas, SO? Architecture and Ideas is an Istanbul-based studio focusing on design, architecture and urbanism. The studio has won numerous awards and has been published in news outlets ranging from the Huffington Post to the Architect’s Journal. In 2013 SO? won the MOMA/PS1 Young Architects Program with its Sky Spotting Stop for the Istanbul Modern. SO? designed for the Istanbul exhibition at MAXXI in Rome, and the project was then acquired by the MAXXI for its permanent architecture collection.

 

 

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Antalya Konyaalti Coastline Urban Rehabilitation by Ozer \ Urger Architects
- © Yercekim Architectural Photography

10. Ozer \ Urger Architects
Ozer\Urger is an Istanbul and Ankara based architecture firm founded in 2002 by Ali Ozer and Ahmet Mucip Urger. The practice has won awards in national architectural design competitions and has completed over 100 projects for private and public clients. Ozer\Urger’s range of works includes education, accommodation, transportation, sports, healthcare, housing and mixed-use buildings, in addition to landscape and urban planning projects at various scales. Ozer\Urger Architects designs functional and socially responsible environments with precise detailing and in close collaboration with other disciplines.

 

 

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Garanti BBVA Bank Technology Campus by ERA Architects - © Cemal Emden

11. ERA Architects
ERA Architects was established by Ertun Hiziroglu in 1972 in Istanbul, and has since established offices in Paris, Beijing and Moscow. The studio’s interdisciplinary method is based on engaging professionals from wide-ranging areas of expertise in close collaboration. Faith in both a global design language and local values enables ERA to find sustainable solutions with international collaborations. From cultural and shopping centers to office and residential buildings, the structures completed by ERA focus on creating new living spaces with strong concepts.

 

 

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Doğuş Maslak Tower by MUUM - © Yercekim Architectural Photography

12. MUUM
MUUM is an architectural, interior and urban design firm with a team of 20 architects, interior designers and urban planners. The company was established in 1998 in Istanbul by Murat Aksu and Umut Iyigün. MUUM uses design to enrich people’s lives and help organizations succeed. Its mission is to deliver exceptional design ideas and solutions for its clients through the creative blending of human needs, environmental stewardship, value creation, science and art. Its designs are the result of a collaborative process that encourages multidisciplinary professional teams to research alternatives, share knowledge and imagine new ways to solve the challenges of the built environment.

 

 

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Fitaş Passage Adaptive Re-use (Phase 1) by Salon Alper Derinbogaz - © Marc Goodwin

13. Salon Alper Derinbogaz
Alper Derinboğaz founded Salon in 2009 as an architecture practice after having worked on museums, towers and campus projects in Los Angeles. Three of his earliest built works were included in the Best Architecture of the Year Selection, and his studio received the Arkitera Young Architect Award in 2011. Derinboğaz has received awards and honors including the A+ Architizer Award 2015, and the Plan Award for Innovative Architecture. The studio represented Turkey in the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale. Although the Salon’s designs greatly vary in scale from towers to interiors, its work mostly intends to uncover and question the essential elements of the given site or theme.

 

 

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Denizbank Inovation Center by KONTRA Architecture - © İbrahim Ozbunar, Aykut Lor

14. KONTRA Architecture
Kontra is an environment think tank where space and ideas are audited, researched, analyzed, created and revolutionized. Kontra believes that architecture defines one's world view and is an interdisciplinary language. Kontra provides consulting for creative ideas and design concepts exclusive to residential and commercial projects. The studio designs contemporary interiors together with a line of Kontra products to “meet the demands of life and space.”

 

 

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Villa Draman by Acararch - © İbrahim Özbunar

15. Acararch
In 2016, Acararch was founded as an Istanbul-based architecture studio by Emre Acar, for projects of varying scales and functions including residences, art galleries, offices and stores. The design philosophy of Acararch is to create modern, simple and holistic places while blending functionality and aesthetic with an attention to detail. While considering that each client and each project are unique, Acararch blends the design process with the construction process, to yield problem-specific design solutions and unique details. 

 

 

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Ara Guler Photography Museum by PAB Architects - © Yerçekim / Orhan Kolukısa

16. PAB Architects
PAB Architects was founded by Pınar Gökbayrak, Ali Eray and Burçin Yıldırım in 2007. PAB has worked on architectural design projects, construction site practices, various research projects and architectural publications. PAB Architects participated in the Istanbul Design Biennale and Vitra Contemporary Architecture Series Exhibition and was selected as the Best Emerging Architects in 13th Venice Architecture Biennale. One of its projects, Habita, is an office space designed for innovation and collaboration; the space designed to be open and transparent with various privacy settings to enable its users with a dual working environment.

 

 

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Bahriye Üçok Kindergarten by Dilekci Architects -
© BüşraYeltekin - Yercekim Fotograf

17. Dilekci Architects
DİLEKCİ Architects (DDA) is an Istanbul based architectural practice founded by architect Durmus Dilekci. It is currently working on a range of projects including a hotel project, an eco-resort, and sustainable residences for elderly people. Its project for a kindergarten in Istanbul is designed to be a comfortable and quiet place among a bustling and developing metropolis, where children can develop their own identities fueled by imagination. Origami was used to develop the building’s form, which is also simplified to reflect a child’s basic understanding of the ‘primitive hut’ - a space of belonging and shelter.

 

 

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NAYA by MAS | Miskavi Architecture Studio - © Fevzi Ondu

18. MAS | Miskavi Architecture Studio
MAS is an architecture and design practice based in Istanbul. Through an iterative, concept-driven approach, the studio engages in projects of various scales and media ranging from custom-made furniture design to large-scale urban transformations. Guided by the specific needs and desires of each project, MAS works with an open design process that explores new spatial potentials, and holds a firm commitment to translating those ideas into reality. Its project for a private house in Izmir is a living space for an art collector’s family. It consists of a two-story house organized around a series of porous, open-plan living spaces, exterior terraces and a central atrium that seeks to amplify the presence of the exterior within the interior.

 

 

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Selcuk Ecza by Tago Architects - Courtesy of Tago Architects

19. Tago Architects
Tago Architects was established by Gökhan Aktan Altuğ and Tatsuya Yamamoto in 1995. It has completed projects ranging in typology from high-rise buildings, to small and large-scale residential settlements, urban planning works and sports complexes. Its urban infill project, the Maya Residence, emphasizes the industrial background of Istanbul with wide windows, high ceilings and the use of steel, balanced with calm colors and materials ideal for residential spaces.

 

 

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Eurogıda Administrative Building by Öney Architecture - © Ali Kabas Photography

20. Öney Architecture
Öney Architecture was founded in 1988 by Mustafa Öney. The studio aims to design life-centric, vital and sustainable projects. Its portfolio includes projects ranging from villas to wineries. One of its projects, the Eurogıda Administrative Building, is a production facility in the agricultural-industrial zone of İzmir, Turkey. The inward-oriented structure is positioned parallel to the southern facade to shield against the summer sun.

 

 

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Center for Inclusive Education by Teget - © Cemal Emden

21. Teget
Teget Architectural Office, headed by Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu and Ertuğ Uçar, has been practicing in Istanbul since 2000. It has a portfolio with a wide spectrum of scale and content, from single family dwellings to large scale urban interventions. Its Center for Inclusive Education is adapted to the local climate and architecture of central Turkey. The complex is composed of an agglomeration of masses that form an inner pedestrian street for circulation and the public spine of the campus. The façade is composed of terracotta baguettes that refer to the use of mud brick in local villages, while also providing shading and temperature control.

 

 

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Workinn Hotel by Cinici Architects - © Cemal Emden

22. Cinici Architects
Cinici Architects was established in 1963 by Altuğ and Behruz Cinici for the execution of the Middle East Technical University campus in Ankara. Since opening, the office has completed numerous projects at a wide range of subjects and scales, of which educational buildings are the focus. Cinici Architects has received awards including the National Architecture Award and the Aga Khan Award. Its project for the Bolluca Market Hall is a semi-open space which hosts a local food and crafts market and is also used as a common space for various public activities. The building consists of a main space defined by a canopy roof, open on both sides to existing green areas.

 

 

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Validebag Konaklari Sales Office by Studio Vertebra - © Studio Vertebra

23. Studio Vertebra
Studio Vertebra is an architectural design office established by four partners in 2009. It provides multidisciplinary project services in the fields of architecture, interior architecture and historical restoration.
Keeping in mind urban, architectural and interior architectural factors, it adopts a holistic approach in all its projects. Studio Vertebra’s project for the Validebağ Konakları Sales Office is raised above its site to allow visitors to view construction and the project neighborhood.

 

 

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ADC Data Center Campus by Manço Architects - ©  Ali Manço

24. Manço Architects
Manço Architects, founded in 1970 by Aytaç Manço, is an award-winning architectural practice based in Istanbul that has designed projects in Turkey and abroad. The firm provides architectural and interior design, consulting and control services, combining a professional experience of more than 50 years with the dynamism of a young team. 

 

 

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Turkish Airlines Lounges at Istanbul Airport by AVCI Architects -
© Architecture and Design Büşra Yeltekin

25. AVCI Architects
Selcuk Avci and Sanja Jurca Avci established Avci Architects in London in 1989. In its first year, the practice won the top prize in the European Union biannual Energy Efficient Buildings Competition, the culmination of years of experience in sustainability, which in turn molded the practice’s design direction. Although the practice specializes in many sectors in terms of program, sustainability has become its underlying and driving ethos - from the scale of the regional plan, to the design of a single product. 

 

 

The selection curated by the Archello editorial team is based on a mixture of the amount of featured projects and the views they generated. For a more comprehensive list of Istanbul architects you can take a look here.

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