Arter Contemporary Art Museum   Istanbul, Turkey

This competition-winning project for the Vehbi Koç Foundation in Istanbul creates a 18,000 sq m showcase for its diverse collection of artistic works. The Foundation’s philanthropy has contributed to Turkey’s cultural and social spheres for 50 years.


 Reflecting this rich heritage, the building articulates the founder’s vision for social responsibility, which is communicated through contemporary art, to create a regional, national and international context for artists.

A layered approach to form and detail roots the building firmly in the traditions of the city, while capturing the newfound confidence of the surrounding Dolapdere district. Within the building, a wide range of spaces are interlinked and create proximate exhibition areas for film, video, music, dance, literature and traditional arts.

The close adjacency of different media encourages a diverse approach to programming that aims to transcend usual boundaries between visual arts, performing arts and digital media. The versatility of the museum transforms Arter into a truly multi-disciplinary arts complex.

In keeping with the Foundation’s public patronage, the heart of the design hinges around spaces for everyone to access, both within and outside of the museum. Carefully positioned large picture windows are used as a way of opening the building to the street. This large ‘street gallery’ acts as an invitation to explore, creating continuous links between Istanbul, the museum, and its art.

A triple height entrance gallery forges a visual and physical public route through the centre of the museum, connecting Dolapdere street with the park to the rear, making the building effectively face both ways, accessible and welcoming to all.

This ‘internal street’ is the main organising element of the building, drawing people in and giving a focus for physical and intellectual interaction.

Arter provides an important contribution to Turkey’s cultural life, enriched by the opportunities the building and its diverse programme creates.

Istanbul, Turkey

Project Type
Culture and Exhibition Halls →

Vehbi Koç Foundation

18,000 sq m