The ottoman emperor Abdulhamid 2nd and his love of Paris and French culture was the catalyst of the original Town Hall Building of Istanbul. Abdulhamid 2nd saw and embraced the local authority system that Paris was using at the time and wanted to adopt this to Istanbul. After efforts, government decided to fit only one municipality to this mold and chose the most prestigious 6th Arrondissement region of Paris and called the new municipality building ‘6. Daire‘ which means the same thing in Turkish.
Beyoğlu was the center of art and culture along with the non-Muslim community and embassies so it was seen fit to put this building in this region as the first municipality building of Istanbul.
During an era where the idea and responsibilities of local governments grew, it seems inevitable that building such as this was to be built to reflect that authority of transparent local government.
Built as the first Town Hall of Istanbul in 1885, the building is considered to be the birth of the modern day municipality of the Ottoman era and still belongs to Beyoğlu Municipality, which is one of the district municipalities that proudly represent modernity.
This project aims to restore the structure and re-functionalize it whilst devising new additions to accommodate the current needs of the municipality and create a contemporary ‘municipality campus’.
During restoration, all the plasterwork, paint and flooring that have been piled on top of each other over the years have been stripped off the facade and the interior spaces which freed the building from unnecessary loads and aided the return of the facade to its original texture and detail. The facade restoration has been completed with the principal of keeping this original texture intact.
Taking in to account the original structure and the current sites historical identity along with the need to respond to the current needs of the municipality, 3 additional structures have been designed. These additions bare the methods of contemporary building techniques and architectural styles but do not preclude the original simplicity of the original structure.
The building to the left of the main building serves as the office space, to the right serves as communications center and canteen and the building behind serves as the exhibition hall. This addition behind is a transparent box that connects the main building to the historical cistern and the cistern have been re-appropriated to be used as an exhibition space.
The uncharacteristic roof addition that was made in the 80’s has been removed. Instead, a steel and glass roof has been added to house the council functions. Steel columns have been designed referencing the era of architecture of the time the building was built, have been placed on a grid that matches the facade system and sat on masonry walls offloading the additional weight throughout the walls and with the hopes of a transparent council, transparent glass have been used to fill in between the steel columns.